A woman was riding on a bus when she noticed the slogan, "Keep
Christ in Christmas" on a sign. "Gee," she said to her companion,
"look at that. Even the churches are sticking their noses into
The title of today's sermon is "Keep Christ in Christmas." And
I suppose you're thinking that I'm going to preach about how
commercialized everything is becoming, and how Christ is being
nudged out of just about everything, including "Merry Christmas,"
which has become "Happy Holidays," and even the word "Christmas,"
which has become X-mas.
But, no, I'm not going to preach on that. I think the fact that
there is all this hoopla about the words is part of the problem.
The focus is on the word 'Christmas,' and not on the meaning.
First, let's deal with the ruckus about the word 'X-mas.' We
have trees full of Chrismons here at Trinity. Chrismons are
symbols that stand for Christ. The symbol reminds us of some
aspect of Christ's life. The symbol points us, our minds toward
Christ. If you look carefully on the tree you will see some
Chrismons that are "X's" or a combination of an "X" and what looks
like a "p." Those are not English letters, but Greek letters. The
letter that looks like the letter "p" in our alphabet is really
the Greek letter "Rho" which is equal to our letter "R." The "X"
is the Greek letter "Chi" and is equal to a "CH" in English
letters. The "Chi," the Greek letter that looks like our "X" is a
symbol of Christ. It is the first two letters of the word
"Christ." When combined with the "Rho," the Greek letter that
looks like our letter "p," the symbol then stands for the first
THREE letters, "Chr" of the word Christ. So, when people go on and
on about 'X-mas' leaving out Christ, they don't know what they're
talking about. So, now that YOU know, you can enlighten them.
Again, the focus is on the word, and not on the meaning.
Benjamin Franklin said, "How many observe Christ's birthday!
How few, his teachings! O, 'tis easier to keep holidays than
Mother Teresa said, "It is Christmas every time you let God
love others through you….Yes, it is Christmas every time you smile
at your brother and offer him your hand."
"You can't spell 'brothers' and not spell 'others.' (Baptist
People go on and on about 'keeping Christ in Christmas,' and
one national columnist went on and on about 'taking back
Christmas.' Yet, to read his column other weeks, one is hard put
to see any spirit of Christmas in his opinions or words.
"The Christmas spirit is a wonderful thing," Bob Hope once
said. "It's the one time of the year when a man will give somebody
a $50 watch, and the rest of the year he wouldn't give him the
time of day."
People who expect salvation at the eleventh hour often die at
ten-thirty. (That probably only loosely relates to my sermon
topic, but I read it somewhere and thought it was a great line!)
Truly, folks, the best way to keep Christ in Christmas is to
practice every day throughout the year what it is we consider to
be the meaning of Christmas. The Christmas spirit that goes out
with the dried-up Christmas tree is just as worthless. The problem
is that Christmas comes but once a year, and Christianity comes
but once a week. (Evan Essar)
We make a mockery out of Christmas when we don't practice the
spirit and meaning of Christmas every day. We make a mockery out
of Christmas when we focus on the word and not on the meaning. We
make a mockery out of Christmas when we don't care enough to know
the story as printed in the Bible. When we don't care enough to
pass the story on correctly. When we don't care enough to make a
connection between Christ and our gift giving. When we make Santa
Claus the spirit of Christmas, leaving out any connection to
Christ, the true spirit of Christmas.
He who has no Christmas in his heart will never find Christmas
under a tree. (Roy. L. Smith) It's not even the beginning of
Christmas unless it's Christmas in the heart. (Richard Roberts)
The best gifts are tied with heart strings. ("Pipefuls")
We expect too much of Christmas Day. We try to crowd into it
the long list of lost opportunities for kindliness, forgiveness,
and compassion of the whole year. (David Grayson)
A good conscience is a continual Christmas. (Benjamin Franklin)
As Christians we speak of peace, love, good will, hope, all part
of a good conscience. That's Christmas. We get so many Christmas
cards that have beautiful words in them that wish for us that the
spirit and meaning of Christmas will be with us through out the
whole year ahead.
I've said this before. READ those cards carefully. Meditate on
those words. Maybe read the cards you get each day during a family
meal together. Save at least a half dozen of those cards to keep
out somewhere during the whole year ahead. Keep out the ones that
speak of the spirit of Christmas lasting throughout the year. Keep
them out in sight. And then, in June or July, somewhere mid year,
actually read them again. Anything to help you keep the spirit and
meaning of Christmas alive year round.
Of course, it isn't only Christmas that helps us have
compassion, be loving and giving and forgiving. Regular worship
with others will strengthen us in that. Regular study of God's
Word will help us be who it is we were created to be. Regular
prayer time, communication with God, will help us live out our
faith, be true to what we say we believe.
But right now it's Christmas-time. Help keep Christ in
Christmas by living out the meaning of Christmas. If folks did
THAT, and did that year round, there wouldn't be any outcry about
keeping Christ in Christmas.
I read that all some people want is an inoculation of
Christianity-just enough of it so that they don't catch the real
thing. Sometimes Christmas is no more than a "booster" shot. (Stoffregen)
In closing I want to share a poem with you that I read this
week. It's one more way to be sure to keep Christ in Christmas.
It's entitled, "When Jesus Called That Christmas Week."
"When Jesus Called That Christmas Week"
"When Jesus called that Christmas week I wasn't
at my best;
And the house was much too cluttered to entertain a guest.
He seemed to notice everything, the cards still unaddressed;
The gifts piled high awaiting wraps, the baking and the rest.
His eyes fell on the evergreen and the presents 'neath the tree,
It's my birthday that you celebrate-what are you giving me?
'What am I giving him?' I thought; ashamed no words I found.
So many costly things I'd bought, he looked at me and frowned.
I prayed he'd let the question pass, but when he did persist,
I blurted out the truth at last, you were not on my list."