Richard Clark is the Founding Editor of Christ and Pop Culture. He is also the managing editor of Gamechurch and a freelance writer for Unwinnable, Paste, and other outlets. He lives with his wife in Louisville, KY and has a MA in Theology and the Arts from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
You’re right that we shouldn’t get hostile about it, but you miss the point of your own question. As you said, “It just means something different to other people.” Take out the word “just” and you have your answer why it matters. Christmas is an opportunity for us to share the gospel is a loving way, not to avoid the topic completely and promote the idea that everyone go along their own merry way.
Sure, it won’t take away “what we have” which is the celebration of our Savior’s birth. But we’d be missing out on a great opportunity to share the good news that presents itself to us – we don’t even have to go looking for it.
As pastors, one of our responsibilities is to share God’s revelation with others, not to be content that we have it and don’t want to make waves and let others know there is an objective truth.
I’m not sure how relevant it is, but I should point out that the quote is not from a pastor.
I would also add that X-Mas is Christian. It comes from the Greek word for Christ, which begins with an “X.”
Again, I am not sure how relevant that is either.
@Seminarian – Does saying “Merry Christmas” really give us a grant means to evangelism? Conversely, does not saying “Merry Christmas” really lose us something important?
Generally, in my experience, the only people who get mad about “Merry Christmas” are the bitter atheists (as opposed, of course, to the more genial variety) who are only going to react negatively to any insistence to hammer home that holiday greeting that they love so little. Oh and the fundementalist Christians who declare “O noes! Pagan roots!” whenever anything fun comes about. Muslim, Jews, and others, however, seem little bothered by “Merry Christmas” and many even celebrate the holiday in its cultural aspect (though not in the religious aspect, obviously).
Here’s the thing. If someone is deeply offended by the term, there is little to be won by appearing ungracious and causing offense (they say the cross is offense enough). If someone doesn’t care, then it’s hardly any more a tool for evangelism than is a can of Diet Coke.
I’m not a pastor, but one of our privileges as Christians is to share God’s revelation with others. “Merry Christmas” is not God’s revelation, nor is it integral to the sharing of that revelation.
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