Brace yourselves. The calendar has turned over to December, which means that the inevitable discussion on the “War on Christmas” will soon see its opening salvo for 2013.
It is inevitable. There will be an outrage by a prominent figure about how we have lost our moral fabric because as someone was buying gifts with money they don’t have to impress people that they don’t always like, the cashier will commit the unthinkable sin of wishing “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.”

There will be gnashing of teeth as a town or city somewhere will have a “Holiday parade” rather than a “Christmas parade,” as Tulsa, Okla., had done several years ago and was subsequently boycotted by one of its senators.

The chorus of those who would profess to be Christians will shout that the “political correctness police” have overstepped yet another boundary and that we should not take the “Christ out of Christmas” as the batch of perceived slights against Christendom freshly reveal themselves for this holiday season.

As a person who would say that Jesus is the most important thing in my life, who has devoted my life to the service of God’s Kingdom, and who spends all of my waking moments trying be faithful to that devotion, I have to ask, “What exactly do you mean by putting the ‘Christ back in Christmas’?”

If “putting Christ back in Christmas” means that we:

â—     Recognize that our others are just as much a beloved child of God as we are

â—     Remember that the humility of Christ compelled him to love those who were considered unlovable, serve those who were considered unfit to be served, take on the unwanted task of washing the disciples’ feet, and bear the punishment that we deserved by willingly accepting the cross

â—     Understand that our empty words of proclaiming the gospel without demonstrating God’s love for people through service and social justice is the modern-day equivalent of a noisy gong or clanging cymbal

â—     Acknowledge that our actions of service and social justice fall short of the “Great Commission” because we fail to connect the dots to the reason why we serve, thus making us a disorganized version of Habitat for Humanity

â—     Realize that Christ did not die on the cross and raise from the dead so we can fulfill a self-imposed sense of ritualism or obligation by attending weekly services but rather He wants, demands and deserves to have our lives serve as living sacrifices

â—     Abandon our perceived and petty outrages and focus on actual instances of persecution

â—     Quit trying to make our politicians, retailers and public figures say certain words and phrases and remember that God is more concerned with our heart

â—     Encourage our spiritual leaders to be less concerned about the institution of the church and more concerned about the mission of the church

â—     Separate the false doctrine of linking monetary success to God’s blessing and remember that in God’s economy the needy are provided for and those who do not depend on God are made poor

Then let’s put the Christ back in Christmas.

If our plan is to do anything less than this, then the only thing that I have to say is this: “Happy Holidays.”

Phillip Larsen is a member of West Metro Community Church in Yukon, Okla. He is the author of “Suit Up!” and blogs at You can follow him on Twitter @plarsen7.

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