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On NOT keeping Christ in Christmas

On NOT keeping Christ in Christmas

Each year, conservative Christian pundits strive to work up their followers to be outraged over an alleged “war on Christmas.”  This year’s flurry over the design of paper cups at Starbucks being just the latest example.  In a recent blog post, Jeff K Clarke (a former Pentecostal pastor), suggests a way to climb down from that rhetorical skirmish.  Titled 2 Reasons NOT to Keep Christ in Christmas, it begins;

Keep Christ in Christmas is the slogan of choice for many Christians during this time of year. We see the phrase used all over the place – from Facebook posts, Twitter feeds and Instagram pictures, to Pinterest links, blog posts and videos. However, while Keep Christ in Christmas is a good way for Jesus-followers to remember and live out the spirit of the season, the slogan should never be used as a means to force others to do so.

His basic point is that the Christian encounter with the secular world should reflect Jesus’ example of humility and service.

Before we paste the latest poster or video on Facebook that seeks to force Christ unto our friends, please take a moment to stop, reflect and consider other options.

Let’s try another approach. One that invites people to reconsider the story that started it all.

Christmas is the birth story of a King whose entrance into the world was characterized by humility, weakness, love and peace, rather than power, intimidation, force and domination.

We only ‘Keep Christ in Christmas’ when Jesus’ posture of humility shapes our life in the world.


And he reminds us that our position of cultural prominence and entitlement is passing (or has passed, really) but that in some ways frees us to be more Christ-like.

The empire of the world may have hijacked the season with consumerism, greed and the relentless pursuit of goods, using Christmas as an opportunity to buy and sale, but trying to force culture to respect our holiday (so to speak) will yield minimal results. And, if we see any results at all, they will be based in fear, guilt and manipulation, not love, awe and peace.

Jesus didn’t enter the world through force and we should never think we can enter the world with his message through this means either.


Do go check it out here



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Jeff K. Clarke

Hi Jon,

Just wanted to say thank-you for the mention! I’m delighted that the post has been helpful. Blessings on your journey.

Much grace and peace.

Anne Bay

There is and there never was a war on Christmas. I don’t know when that phrase started, but it’s getting old. I like this article. We live in a country where people have different beliefs, thoughts, opinions, about what Christmas is. The Christian right seems to have their list of who’s naughty and nice with regards to how they want the world to be. It would be lovely if they could just do their “own thing” to use an old saying, and leave the rest of us alone.

When I was growing up, we had an English tradition of Christmas. Advent and all things Advent. English foods. We went Christmas tree shopping at 5:00 p.m. or so on Christmas Eve, had a special Christmas Eve dinner and decorated the tree. Then we all went to Midnight Mass and then we opened our presents in the morning. We opened one gift before Midnight Mass and got to take it with us to church if we wanted to. Christmas for us was all 12 days ending with attending Feast of Lights service on January 6th. I was in the choir from an early age and later played for churches after I became an organist/choirmaster. So, if the Christian right wants to try that, be my guest.

I’m just hoping I can get through this time trying to endure the Christmas music in every store, gas station, elevator, and yes, Starbuck’s. Our neighbors in our block are already putting up their Christmas trees. Christmas decorations abound. To each his own!

Bob McCloskey

Keep the MASS in ChristMass…

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