Ok, how many of you took Greek with Dr. Erickson? I see those 3 hands. I was one of the lucky ones. What a passion Dr. Erickson had for God’s word and seeing his students dig into it with fervor! Even though I ended up going to Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and getting my Masters and had to take lots of Biblical language classes, I never really liked them. However, my intro to Greek with Doc was actually quite fun. As we began to learn vocabulary, one of the interesting words we learned was the word for Christ – kristos. The first letter of that word, Chi, in Greek, is actually a large X. Ok, Eric, where are going with this? Stick with me. As you know, many people think that X-Mas is a secular version of Christmas when in actuality, it’s a shorthand of sorts and has as its origin with the insertion of Chi, X, in place of the English word “Christ”. So, if you ever see me writing X-Mas down on my Christmas lights boxes, you’ll know why. If you don’t believe me, there’s even a Wikipedia page for X-Mas and everything Wikipedia says is completely true!
So, that’s my excuse for taking the word “Christ” out of “Christmas” on my boxes of lights. I hope that you aren’t thinking of your excuse right now. You see, taking Christ out of Christmas is really easy to do. It’s easy for the secular person, of course, but it is also easy for the long-time Christ-follower as well. The reality is that the whole secular world around us is making “Christmas” a bad word. We now have to say “holiday” in our sidewalk greetings. The reality is that the world around us is telling us that we need to get more and more and more gifts this Christmas to keep the economy growing and to show our love to our family and friends. The reality is that the world around us keeps us so busy during the Christmas season that there isn’t much time for much of anything that is of real importance. Do any of those excuses ring true for you?
Christmas is a season of giving. It’s a remembrance of an almighty Creator God reaching down and giving us the gift of His son and the gift of eternal life. It’s a season of giving life and hope to people around us that so desperately need it in the person of and through a relationship with Jesus. It’s a season of being the hands and feet of Jesus by helping out those in need that are right there in our everyday lives – the homeless person we drive by, the single mother at work and the widow that lives down the street. It’s a season of giving gifts of love to our loved ones that are representations and reminders of what God did in giving us Jesus.
This Christmas, don’t take Christ out of it (and, no, you don’t have to get the bumper sticker!). Though there are a million more, here are a bunch of ideas for you to consider to keep Christ at the center: Sign up to feed the homeless at your local homeless shelter, give shoeboxes of gifts through Operation Christmas Child to needy children around the world, take advantage of your church’s outreach opportunities and invite your family, friends and neighbors, go to church and keep on going if you haven’t been in a while, do a Christmas morning devotional and prayer time around Luke 2 before you open the gifts, share the story of your relationship with Jesus with someone in your life, send out a Christmas card that isn’t just about your family but also is about Jesus’s birth and giving glory to God, go see Handel’s Messiah in your town, go caroling using some of the great God-honoring Christmas hymns, and say, “Merry Christmas!”
-Eric Rojas, Class of 1990, Executive Pastor at Christ Community Church in St. Charles, IL