Writer, editor, stumbler after Jesus

It’s Christmas party (not piety) time!

L1050954A GENTLE REMINDER, this Christmas season, for fellow believers: there’s a difference between suffering for Jesus and being insufferable for Jesus.

Let’s spend more time pointing the way to the Prince of Peace rather than pointing the finger at those supposedly in the ranks of the great army alleged to be fighting The War on Christmas.

We can’t make anyone come to our celebration (nor should we want to), but we can throw the doors open and invite everyone in. However, they’re more likely to be interested in joining us if we don’t come off so cross at people—if we come on like party poppers, not party poopers.

Those “Keep Christ in Christmas” and “Don’t Forget the Reason for the Season” bumper stickers and badges may be well- intentioned. But, frankly, they can come over as a bit sanctimonious. Let’s be busy about truly keeping Christ in our own Christmas instead of telling other people what they should do with theirs.

I speak as an expert in unintentionally being more Grinch-like than grace-filled at this time of year. In the early flush of faith, I sent friends Christmas cards with evangelistic Bible verses in them. I suspect my greeting came over as more tut-tut than ho-ho.

I compounded things by deciding that I was going to demonstrate my new outlook on life by rejecting the rampant commercialism of the season and instead give people “meaningful” gifts. Fair trade was still in its infancy back in those days, with limited options. Most products were some jute variation: plant holders, bowls, wall hangings, all with stickers saying this had been made by some impoverished person in the developing world.

I’m fairly sure most of my gift-wrapped sermons ended up in the trash the day after Christmas. The recipients probably felt more lectured than loved.

Rather than telling other people how they are doing their Christmas wrong, let’s concentrate on doing ours right. Let’s share peace and goodwill—to all. Let’s radiate joy. Done right, I suspect people may see more of Jesus in our Christmas party than our Christmas piety.

Photo credit: A Walker in LA via Foter.com/CC BY-NC-SA

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