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Published December 24 2011

Forum editorial: The heart of season is Christ

Christmas has become an inclusive cultural holiday. It’s the Christmas of green and red, of festivals of lights, of mind-numbing retail promotions, of inane pop-star Christmas songs, of Santa and Rudolf, of oh-so-carefully neutral “winter” school programs.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with a Christmas season that embraces light and joy and music. But for Christians – and by that we mean Christians with a capital “C” – the heart of Christmas can be nothing other than a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. A Christmas season without recognition of, as they say, “the reason for the season,” is shallow and secular, and therefore dishonest. Those who profess to be Christians cannot succumb to the fiction it’s OK to shift emphasis from the birth in Bethlehem some 2,000 years ago to the glitter of holiday trappings.

There’s a contagious generosity attached to the holiday. The spirit of Christmas is expressed in countless ways that often seem unrelated to the miracle of Christ’s humble birth. But as Scripture tells us, God became man and lived among us for a time. His message from the start was about love, charity, forgiveness and salvation. Nearly everything good that defines our modern cultural Christmas – secular or not – is rooted in the Nativity story and the life of Jesus as revealed in the New Testament.

The modern holiday observance surely makes room for all to revel in the spirit of the season. But the source of that spirit is the birth of a baby who changed the world.

Non-believers who celebrate a secular Christmas might be dismissive of the claim of Christ’s divinity. Christians don’t have that option. The joy of the season is the birth of Christ. The heart of the season is the unshakeable belief that a Savior was born in Bethlehem. There is no other way for Christians.

Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper’s Editorial Board.