Around the world, Christmas is by most measures the most popular single holiday, as well as the centerpiece of the world's largest religious tradition. Nine out of ten Americans say they celebrate Christmas (Pew Forum, December 2013). Nearly all who call themselves "Christians" celebrate the day, and in the United States even eight-of-ten non-Christians claim to observe a Christmas holiday of some sort (ibid.).
But what are they celebrating? Millions go into debt buying gifts to celebrate a Jesus who reminded us that we cannot serve both God and mammon. The Savior who warned against covetousness is honored, they seem to think, by the annual consumer frenzy that culminates around the Christmas tree. Every December, millions of revelers overindulge in rich foods, drink a little too much and engage in wild behavior—in celebration of the Savior whose Sermon on the Mount praised meekness and humility.
And what about church? Almost any pastor or priest can tell you about "twice-a-year Christians" who only show up in church on Christmas and Easter.Continue Reading