Christmas Season

December 21, 2018

Majority of Americans: Jesus Should be the Reason for Christmas Season

Sixty-five percent Americans want the Christmas season to be more about Jesus, according to a recent Lifeway research poll. The survey featured more than 1,000 Americans from all different religions and backgrounds. Jesus is and has always been the reason that we celebrate this time of the year, so Christians should be encouraged to see that two-thirds of Americans still want Christmas to be about more than Santa, Rudolph, and Frosty.

However, the 2018 study also shows that more people do not know if Christmas should be about Jesus than in 2014. Another 19 percent of respondents said that Christmas does not need to be about Jesus at all. This should be a call to action for Christians to reach unbelievers with the love of Jesus Christ. Romans Chapter 10 says, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”

Needing Jesus is nothing new. He knows that we are helpless without his redemption and love. Jesus himself says in John 6, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst…For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life.” We need the eternal food that Christ offers.  Christians are called to love and serve one another so that Christ’s name is proclaimed throughout the world. We must share the gospel this Christmas season to reveal the hope of Christ to all of those who do not know what Christmas is truly about.

This research exposes our society’s longing for the joy of Christ. Over the years, Americans have increasingly made the holidays about material things –how much we can give and receive. Our commercialized culture has overtaken the real reason that we give gifts and celebrate this season!

Jesus says in Matthew 6, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” American society today has chosen to love money –a treacherous master that leaves all who trust its promises unsatisfied. Spending money during the holidays is not a bad thing, but it becomes harmful when we forget to pray and remember the gifts the Lord has already provided. Are we walking with Jesus and seeking Him this Christmas or focused on how much we are spending and buying?

Money and material wealth cannot satisfy our souls or replace our need for God. This Christmas, for our own sake, for the sake of those who do not know Jesus, and for the glory of the Lord, we must remember to refocus our love on Christ. Jesus is the entire reason that we celebrate. Living a life that is centered on the goodness and glory of God will make Christmas full of the true joy that only comes from knowing Jesus.

Author and Baptist Pastor John Piper says, “There’s the simple, short, spectacular exultation of 2 Corinthians 9:15: ‘Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!’ The very essence of Christmas includes a divine overflow of generosity, kindness, grace, giving — doing for us, giving to us, what we could never do for ourselves or get on our own. The ultimate gift is God. God gives God.” He emphasizes the beauty in gifts and in celebrating the Christmas season because we remember what God has done for us by coming down to earth. Christians get to re-gift this good news to others because Jesus first gave his life for us.

Here at IRD, we pray for the increasing numbers of Americans who dismiss the importance of Jesus’ birth. We pray also for those who continue to believe in the true reason for Christmas. There can be a redemption of the Christmas spirit if we remember our savior who was born so that we could know the love of God. He has given us the greatest gift of grace and eternal life.

This is the hope of Christmas, that all will know Jesus and find their life and joy in him.

9 Responses to Majority of Americans: Jesus Should be the Reason for Christmas Season

  1. David says:

    As many know, Christmas is a pagan holiday taken over by Christians. In ancient Rome, this holiday around the shortest day of the year involved giving gifts and decorating trees (outdoor ones at least). The Puritans recognized this and outlawed the holiday both in England and Boston (1659). While the prohibition lasted only about two decades, New Englanders were reportedly not so keen on Christmas until the mid ninetieth century. We need to keep Saturn in Saturnalia.

  2. John Marshall says:

    The surmise that Christians “took over” pagan holidays is overblown. The date of Christmas was decided upon without reference to “Saturnalia”, and most probably stems from the Incarnation, March 25, being nine months later. The Puritans did ban Christmas, but because it was accompanied by gaming and heavy drinking, without reference to “pagan origins”. Christmas in other colonies, like Virginia, went on as usual.
    The Romans may have hung laurel leaves for their holiday, and apparently did give year end gifts, but they didn’t “decorate trees” and the gifts had more to do with the end of the year, than any other festive day. Gift-giving more likely commemorate the gifts brought by the three Magi and the anonymous gifts given by St. Nicholas.
    That the Christmas tree started in Germany is beyond dispute. It’s origin most likely stems from the Bishop of Bremen who related the story of the great pagan sacrificial tree in Uppsala, Sweden. They hung sacrifices both animal and human from the tree. It’s probably the stronger case that, indeed, this was a takeover, substituting tinsel and ornaments for pagan sacrifice.

  3. David says:

    In his many poems about the Saturnalia, Martial names both expensive and quite cheap gifts, including writing tablets, dice, knucklebones, moneyboxes, combs, toothpicks, a hat, a hunting knife, an axe, various lamps, balls, perfumes, pipes, a pig, a sausage, a parrot, tables, cups, spoons, items of clothing, statues, masks, books, and pets. Gifts might be as costly as a slave or exotic animal, but Martial suggests that token gifts of low intrinsic value inversely measure the high quality of a friendship. Patrons or “bosses” might pass along a gratuity (sigillaricium) to their poorer clients or dependents to help them buy gifts.

    Our Christmas tree tradition come from the German areas, but clay ornaments were used by the Romans on trees along with decoration of houses.

  4. Bonner says:

    I agree with the statements by David and John. When I lived in New England in the 1960’s we were given a half a day off for December 25th. It was not a holiday. I also DO NOT AGREE that Jesus is THE REASON for the season. I Believe that WE SHOULD CELEBRATE EVER HOUR of EVERYDAY AS THE REASON..NOT JUST ONE DAY.

  5. William says:

    BC, AD or BCE, CE

    Just wondering — why is it still the same year, 2018, when using the CE designation? With reference to 2018CE, what are teachers telling those inquiring minds who see the 2018CE designation and ask, “2018 years from what —- what happened 2018 years ago that started this Common Era (CE) in which we live?”

    • David says:

      Personally, I wish the founding era had been set back as using BC/BCE is inconvenient in the study of ancient history. As many have pointed out, the year of the era is unlikely to have been the actual year of Christ’s birth and the reasons for its selection have remained unexplained. The use of BCE is clearly a secularization so as not to give offence to non Christians. There are many systems of eras, the Jewish year is supposed to date things from the Creation.

      • William says:

        “Offense to non-Christians” — a favorite politically correct line of attack at Christianity in order to silence it. Someone might be offended, so shut up you Christians. This is the anthetisis of Christianity and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Christians adhering to this are falling under the influence of the Great Deceiver and, therefore, ultimately end up offending God.

  6. Richard S Bell says:

    What does Christians’ coopting of pagan winter solstice have to do with a general desire for attention to Jesus and IRD’s call for Christians to satisfy that general desire?

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