The Christmas Season, if you consider that the song “Twelve Days Of Christmas” runs from December 25th through January 6th (which means we’re still in the Christmas Season, even in January 2022), has brought all kinds of social media outpouring from citizens worldwide who enjoy commemorating the holiday. In the case of some, social media has allowed Christians, in particular, to continue “debating” each other, at a time when they celebrate Jesus, “the prince of peace.”
I encountered this debating attitude on social media among fellow Christians that I follow, both family and friends, and was disturbed to find social media posts that go so far as to “sideline the season” with their brief words about the Christmas holiday.
Before I get started, let me say that I don’t think either of these individuals meant to sideline Christmas, but the words they shared on social media did something they didn’t intend to do — and said something they didn’t intend to say.
But, instead of fumbling over what I think these individuals mean, perhaps it’s best to let their words reveal themselves. So without further ado, let’s take a look at these two brief social media posts that sideline the season.
jesus isn’t a baby in a manger anymore: the social media post that sidelines the “Christ” in “Christmas”
First on the list of social media posts sidelining the season is the above photo, with the face of a lion and the words, “He’s not a baby in a manger anymore.” To be sure, I didn’t get this from Tony Evans (the famous preacher and writer that we all know and respect), but to avoid giving away the particular individuals who did post this, I credited the image above from Tony Evans.
on one hand, the statement is true
Now, the image does make a good point: Jesus was a baby in a manger at one time, emphasis on the word “was.” But, as my sister once said in a poem she wrote years ago, “What He was He is no more.” Jesus was a baby but now He’s our Savior, our Lord, who died on the cross for our sins. A baby in a manger couldn’t die and save mankind from the wages of its sin; Jesus died for our sins. He’s anything but a baby in a manger. You and I were once babies, but we’re no longer tiny people.
on the other hand, the statement is sidelining the season
Jesus was a baby, now He’s our Savior, our Lord, the Lion of Judah, the spotless Lamb of God slain for the sins of the world. But, what purpose does this post serve when shared on social media? If you consider that some I know shared this post at Christmastime, it just seems contrary to the season at hand and the reason we celebrate Christmas.
What do we celebrate at Christmas? Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. And what about Christ do we celebrate? We don’t celebrate His death and resurrection at Christmas because we celebrate His atonement and resurrection at SonRise (some call it Easter) in April. There’s an entire series titled “Why We Don’t Celebrate Easter” that you should check out here at the site.
At Christmas, we celebrate His coming, His advent, Jesus’ birth. We celebrate He was born of the virgin Mary, that He was laid in a manger because “there was no room for Him in the inn” (Luke 2:7). That shepherds were in the fields keeping watch over their flock by night when the angels appeared to them and gave them the news to tell far and wide that “the Savior, which is Christ the Lord” had been born in Bethlehem, the City of David. We celebrate that our Lord and Savior, the spotless Lamb of God, was “wrapped in swaddling cloths and laid in a manger.”
So, when someone posts an image with the words “He’s not a baby in a manger anymore,” what are they really saying? Sure, Christians could say, “Well, we want people to worship all that He is; He’s not just a baby in a manger, and He’s not in the manger anymore.”
True, Jesus isn’t in the manger anymore; He isn’t on the Cross, either, but do we not celebrate His death and resurrection? We don’t stop speaking of His death and resurrection because He rose from the dead. According to Scripture, our Lord Jesus, on the same night in which He was betrayed, told the disciples to celebrate the Lord’s Supper: “do this in remembrance of Me,” Jesus said regarding the bread and the cup (1 Corinthians 11:24-25).
And the apostle Paul says that, “as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26, NKJV). Holy Communion, the Lord’s Supper, is a sacred institution that Christians observe because the Lord told us to remember His death.
In the same way, we don’t stop celebrating Jesus’ coming and birth because He isn’t a baby anymore.
The statement above sounds like a cool one for social media, but in the end, it leaves me thinking that it’s a statement to “one-up” traditional Christian thinking — almost as if it’s a Christian debate kind of post that exists for no other reason than to appear contrary.
Maybe the statement calls us to have higher thinking about our Lord, but at Christmas, it appears to be sidelining the season. Again, I don’t think the poster meant any harm by it, but the individual may not have thought through how it would appear to others when they posted it.
At a time when so many have made commercialism, retail, and materialism their objects of worship, we should be all too glad as Christians to celebrate the birth of our Lord; for, without Jesus’ birth, He could not live; and without His life, He could not die. And without His death, He could not rise. Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection are a package deal. We cannot have one part without the others.
Jesus is the reason for everyday, but making this statement at christmas sidelines the season
The second post in question was shared by another Christian who thought that it would be clever to post it at Christmastime. “Jesus isn’t just the reason for the season; He’s the reason for every day of our life.”
To be sure, Jesus is the reason we live, move, and have our being, the reason we exist every day. Without Jesus, none of the life we have would have been possible. Nothing is possible apart from Christ. He made all things, and without Him nothing exists that is currently in existence, we’re told in John 1:3.
And yet, Jesus IS the Reason for the Season, is He not? What is “Christmas” if it isn’t named after Jesus Christ? Why call it Christmas if it’s about something or someone other than Him? Yes, Jesus is the reason for every day. Every day exists because He allows them to exist, but that’s irrelevant when the discussion concerns “Christ” in Christmas.
Christmas isn’t just another holiday in a string of holidays; it’s a special observance of the birth of our Lord. We don’t know the exact day Jesus was born. We don’t have it recorded historically, so observance in December, it’s been said, is due to Winter Solstice. And yet, regardless of the exact date, what matters most is the observance.
We should observe the birth of Jesus, no matter the exact date. As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11(and I mentioned above) concerning the death and resurrection of Jesus in the Lord’s Supper, “as often as we do it,” we observe. Doesn’t matter how many times we observe it or when, as long as we observe it.
When someone says that “Jesus is the reason for every day of life,” it gives the appearance that it’s foolish or short-sighted to celebrate Christmas, to celebrate a season about Jesus. In reality, there’s nothing wrong and everything right about remembering our Lord.
We can’t make every day Christmas and have time with our families (we must work for our livelihoods, to be sure), but we can set aside a specific time of year to observe our Lord’s birth. It is a feasible holiday that allows corporate employees to not only work hard but also celebrate their faith. What’s the crime in celebrating Jesus?
Sales and profit are still a big emphasis of the Christmas season for the world as a whole. You can barely get up from the Thanksgiving table without having an “after-Thanksgiving sale” or “after-Christmas sale” thrown in your face in a 30-second TV ad. It is a fitting time to remind the world that “Jesus is the Reason for the Season,” don’t you agree?
responses in search of questions: the problem with these Christmas social media ads
These social media ads with images and the above statements seem like responses in search of questions. Truth be told, these ads have good statements worth saying. Jesus is the reason for every day, and He isn’t a baby in a manger anymore. At the same time, that shouldn’t halt Christmas celebrations or telling others about Jesus this time of year.
As Christians, we’ve gotta get to a place where we stop trying to win theological debates for the purpose of looking more “theologically astute” than other believers. Let’s all come down from our high horses and recognize Christmas for what it is: a time to celebrate the coming and birth of our Lord, “The Birth That Brought Heaven To Earth.”
Let’s not sideline the season (and thereby, sideline Jesus) for the sake of point-proving. We can win the debate and discourage those who need to hear about Jesus the most, the unbeliever. We want our light to “so shine before men that they see our good works and glorify the Father who is in Heaven,” not detract from Jesus and discourage the lost from coming to Him.
In our haste to be right, correct, and to “prove a point,” we’re zapping the joy out of the most joyous time of year. Jesus is the Center of our Joy; let’s model that mood and attitude when reflecting on the Reason for the Season, shall we?