Preserving Christmas for Christ

If you do a bit of research, you will find that Christmas, like Easter, has heathen roots and
originally had no connection to Christianity. However, centuries ago the church in Europe, recognizing
the negative spiritual repercussions of a holiday festival which exalted unholy beliefs and practices, took
counteractive measures by declaring Christmas as a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. In a sense,
the Church has redeemed a pagan holiday and redefined it as a time to commemorate the gift of life
that God provided by sending His Son to live a sinless life and become the sacrificial lamb for all who
believe. Currently the perception in most countries around the globe is that Christmas is in fact a
Christian holiday, but it could be argued that here in North America there is a cultural shift taking place
as efforts are being made to secularize and de-Christianize Christmas. Since most of the world views the
USA as a Christian nation, it is imperative that we preserve and elevate the sacred and holy nature of
our Christmas celebrations.

In December, throughout America and in some other parts of the world, followers of Christ will
gather for special worship services to honor the birth of our Savior and Lord. At the same time, many
will also join with the rest of society in celebrations focused on parties, bountiful feasts and exchanging
gifts in what could be described as a massive tribute to excessive materialism. Contrast this with what
will take place in other parts of the world where Christianity is not as widespread, and some countries
don’t even recognize Christmas as an official holiday. For believers in these countries the balance still
leans very heavily towards the significant spiritual element of the Christmas celebration.

Followers of Jesus in societies where Christ is not widely known, where permitted, will
gather for fellowship and worship, and may also share a special meal together, but the giving of gifts will
be limited and will not be focused on each other but will instead be approached as an outreach aimed at
demonstrating the love of Christ to unbelievers. Consider this short note from a church leader in India:
“As Christmas is coming near we are preparing to spread the greatness of Jesus in our area. We
are planning to conduct meetings and trying to feed the poor and hand pair of clothes to the
pastors in this month. Praying for you all and requesting you all to pray for us.”

This is in line with scriptural passages that highlight the importance of sharing our
blessings with others and helping to meet their needs for the sake of Jesus. (Isa. 58:6-10, Matt.
35:34-40, Luke 3:11) This is the true spirit of Christmas that we need to be promoting and
preserving in a world increasingly being influenced to embrace Christmas as a materialistically
centered holiday festival devoid of Christ. It is not wrong to give Christmas gifts to friends and
family, but that must be secondary to our efforts to emphasize the significance of the birth of
Jesus and to use the Christian version of Christmas to declare the gospel. We must guard
against the trap of becoming so enamored with our own generosity to each other that we
diminish our role in honoring Christ by reaching out to others in His name. Since humanity was
created in the image of God, relational generosity exists in the hearts of people all around the
world, but sin ushered in greed and a desire to gain and hoard possessions. As the world looks
on and observes how a perceived Christian society celebrates Christmas it is imperative that the
Body of Christ in North America, and the rest of the world, exemplifies God’s heart and practices generosity in such a way that the light of Christ outshines the secular ideology of a materialistic irreligious winter festival. Those living in darkness don’t need to be burdened with the false concept that love is communicated through excessive material gifts.

This in no way diminishes our responsibility to engage in compassionate relief for those
in physical need as a valid expression of our faith and as a means of pointing people to Jesus.
The key is to keep Christ at the center of every aspect of our lives and what we celebrate.
Imagine the anguish of those who may feel they are not good enough and don’t measure up
because they are without the resources to give expensive gifts to friends and family. Now
imagine those same people learning about a God who gave His own son so that they can have
an abundant life with hearts full of hope and joy that they can freely pass on to others!

Here at The Tide ministry, we are extremely grateful to have so many friends who are
committed to giving to “the least of these” by supporting our initiatives to introduce people to
Jesus through media outreaches in their own language. While your donations may not place
something material in the hands of someone in need, they do provide the spiritual gift of new
life and eternal hope that they eagerly embrace and hold onto as their most prized possession,
and that is the true spirit of Christmas and the reason why we need to preserve Christmas for
Christ!

Vicious Attacks on Indian Christians

It can be hard for us to visualize the terror felt by those who face daily oppression, but it is the reality for millions of believers worldwide

Increased Worldwide Persecution

In areas where Christian persecution is growing, we must work even harder to encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ of the truth of the Gospel amidst horrific conditions