What about put Christ back in Christian?
This thought came to my mind last night in the Wendy’s drive thru. The truck in front of me had a bumper sticker on the tailgate with the silhouette of a Nativity scene and the message “Put Christ back in Christmas.” You’ve probably seen these bumper stickers before, or maybe you’ve seen a similar message shared on Facebook – “Jesus is the Reason for the Season” or “Merry CHRISTmas!”
Should we put Christ back in Christmas? Yes.
Is Jesus the reason for the Christmas season? Absolutely.
Of course I agree with these things. I’m even guilty of sharing some those posts myself… (Except maybe that CHRISTmas thing… I can’t help but reading it the way it’s typed.)
But we are missing the bigger picture here.
Isn’t it time we put Christ back in Christian?
(This is where people will begin to get offended.)
I grew up in church. My grandmother got me up on Sunday mornings and we went to Sunday school, and she taught me to sit in a pew, and everyone knew me as Evelyn’s granddaughter. And even as a child I took pride in that, because I watched her interact with these fellow church members and she was an amazing woman. And you know what?
When we were NOT at church, she was the same amazing woman. We spent a lot of time on her front porch swing. My favorite way to remember her is on that swing, with one leg tucked under her and the other keeping the swing going. That was the place where she told me Bible stories and we would sing the good old hymns. (Do Lord Remember Me is still my favorite.)
But then I grew up and ventured out on my own.
And it wasn’t long before good “Christian” people showed me a side of religion that I never wanted to be a part of.
Two-faced. Holier than thou. Judgmental. Always preaching what you should NOT do and never what you should. Always condemning, never loving.
Keeping up with it all was exhausting and going to church was uncomfortable. I didn’t feel worthy of sitting in those pews anymore and frankly, I didn’t want to.
It took a while before I decided to try and get back in to organized religion. There came a point when my own personal beliefs and my love for Jesus was overshadowed by my questions and suffering through Bible reading alone. (Yes, I said suffer… You totally know there are parts of the Word that leave you scratching your head going, “Whaaat?”) But by the grace of God I found a church that welcomed me with open arms and has welcomed everyone else the same exact way.
If you’re lucky, you love going to church like I’ve learned to.
But we can’t just be good little church goers on Sunday.
We have to continue to love Jesus every day.
And to love Him, means to love His people.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35
So, will they know us by our love?
It’s hard sometimes.
Okay, a lot of times.
Yes, I said it.
It’s hard to love others.
I fail multiple times a day.
I’m preaching to me as much as I anyone else.
Which is exactly why I need Jesus.
Jesus didn’t pick and choose when to love and neither should we.
*This post is not directed toward any one particular person or congregation, just general experiences of my early adulthood.