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Do these words offend you?
There are lots of reasons why people may use the more generic “Happy Holidays” during the Christmas season. Perhaps the speaker means no offense and repeats the phrase without even thinking about it. It could be that the Happy Holidays wisher is just trying to be polite and truly doesn’t want to offend people who do not celebrate Christmas. Maybe the cashier at your local grocery store has been instructed by his boss to give a more inclusive greeting. Maybe he is just trying to keep his job!
Of course, there are those who purposely and consciously refuse to acknowledge the true meaning of Christmas, and some are zealous enemies of the cross, indeed! However, do we really think that the words “Merry Christmas” coming from the mouths of such people will in any way please God?
Whether the Merry Christmas naysayers’ motive be a premeditated denial of all that is Christian or merely ignorance of the weight and beauty of Christmas in the hearts and minds of believers, as followers of Christ what should our response be?
Five Ways Believers Can Show the Love of Christ to the Happy Holidays Crowd:
1. Have compassion.
If you are a Christian, you are a recipient of the great compassion of God. Consider the compassion of Christ toward unbelievers:
When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things. (Mark 6:34)
2. Show mercy.
Remember your helpless state before God had mercy on you.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved–(Eph 2:4-5).
3. Exhibit understanding.
Were you not in the same predicament before God graciously saved you?
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly…but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us…(Rom 5:6,8)
4. Communicate Grace.
Consider Paul’s instruction to the Colossians about how to behave toward unbelievers:
Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one. (Col. 4:6)
And, Paul’s instruction to the church at Ephesus:
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. (Eph 4:29)
5. Convey Love.
The reason behind the season is Love.
And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Phil 2:8)
Jesus suffered and died for the very ones who would crucify Him. That’s you and that’s me.
His motivation was love. Radical, life-changing, Gospel saturated love.
Listen to the words of Christ:
But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. (Matt 5:44)
So, when you are out and about this holiday season and someone wishes you “Happy Holidays!”, how should you respond? How about a heartfelt, “Merry Christmas!”? Who knows, you may get an opportunity to give a more thorough explanation of the true meaning of Christmas.
…for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord [!]…(Luke 2:10-11)
By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel