Merry Christmas. Don’t Make it Weird.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. Romans 1:16
It’s Christmas, which means I run into a lot of people wishing me a Merry Christmas. Christmas is, of course, a Christian holiday that everyone knows celebrates of the birth of Jesus. Some will say Happy Holidays, but, where I live, most are still fine with this level of expression of faith, which, at minimum, provides a day off work. So, there is a manifestation of our Christian faith with which most people are comfortable.
There is, however, a level of faith expression which others find uncomfortable. My father is a pastor, and growing up, I must admit that I sometimes found this ostracizing. I didn’t feel like I fit in well anyway and being a pastor’s kid sometimes further (at least I felt it did) distanced me from my peers. Now, I’m thankful and am proud of my upbringing, but I can remember times when I wished we didn’t take our faith quite so seriously because I just wanted to fit in.
If I’m honest, I must admit that there are still expressions of faith that make me uncomfortable. When anyone gets too boisterous in church, I squirm. When an acquaintance lets out a loud Praise the Lord in public conversation, I look around to see if anyone else heard. There are levels of faith expression with which I’m comfortable and those with which I’m not. I realize the irony, as many of you see me as a religious nut. I’m simply admitting that there are occasions when the faith of others makes me uncomfortable. Perhaps, at times, I’m still in junior high, just wanting to fit in.
The apostle Paul didn’t seem to worry much about the world’s approval. In today’s passage, he declared that he was not ashamed of the gospel. He committed his life, spending all of his time, energy, and money for this singular purpose. He couldn’t have cared less what anyone else thought of his mission. He was obedient to God alone.
I could learn a lot from Paul. Knowing full well the transformation that God has done in my own life, I should boldly proclaim the gospel of Christ, never being ashamed of my faith. So, even if it makes it weird, I’ll say Merry Christmas! as I celebrate the birth of Jesus, who continues to save me from myself.