Love Where They Are

I was the first house in my neighborhood to put up Christmas lights.  If it were up to me I’d leave Christmas decorations up year-round, but my wife would probably move somewhere else.  I love Christmas season, which is unofficially Nov. 1-Jan. 31 by the way.  I love it because, to me, the decorations, music, feasts, and gifts are a constant reminder of God’s unfailing love for humanity which culminated in the birth of Christ.

I stumbled across a wonderful post by Jesse Carey of Relevant Magazine concerning our misguided attempts to force private companies to adhere to our standards for Christmas decoration or greetings.  I hope this is a reminder for you, as it was for me, to love people as they are and not as they should be…

“Every year around this time, there is a common refrain in some circles of Christianity that calls for boycotts against private companies that do not use the term “Christmas” in displays, advertising and interactions between customers and employees.

To the concerned boycotters, by not acknowledging the Christian traditions associated with the holiday, retailers effectively take “the Christ” out of Christmas. But even if taking “Christ” out of Christmas were possible, greeting someone with the words “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” wouldn’t do it.

That’s because the message of Jesus is one of selflessness and treating your neighbor as you would want to be treated. Yes, Jesus is the truth. But He also taught His followers that people will recognize this truth by how we actually treat each other.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34).

The story of Jesus—particularly the Christmas narrative—underscores something unique about Christianity: It is about meeting people where they are right now, not where we think they should be.

The reason Jesus was born in a manger, was conceived by the Holy Spirit to an unwed teen and worked as a carpenter, isn’t because He didn’t deserve the treatment and glory of an eternal king. It’s because God, in part, wanted His life to model a new kind of thinking and living. Jesus humbled Himself so He could reach people in their world.

The story of Jesus—particularly the Christmas narrative—underscores something unique about Christianity: It is about meeting people where they are at right now, not where we think they should be.

Paul even writes that words are secondary to our motives: “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.”

What kind of message does it send if we pressure privately owned businesses—which cater to people of all kinds of faiths and backgrounds—to only acknowledge our own beliefs?

Jesus didn’t try to organize a government revolt. He didn’t encourage followers to boycott local businesses. He definitely didn’t force people to celebrate His birthday. He called us to make disciples by relying on the truth of His message and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

No one is forcing us to censor our faith or hide the truth. But the way we reach people should be through relationships, not grandstanding.”


Adapted from Why #MerryChristmasStarbucks Is So Misguided
Jesse Carey
November 9, 2015
Relevant Magazine
Read more at http://www.relevantmagazine.com/culture/why-merrychristmasstarbucks-so-misguided#Yr0yxxoz6ommpVJp.99

Gary Malone, MA, LMFT-A Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist Associate

Veritas Life Adventures- Houston Satellite, Sugarland, Tx

Houston Satellite Director and Licensed Family Counselor