“Why do your admins enjoy taking Christ out of Christmas?” the Twitter post read, publicly showing off a screencap of my photograph and name with an adjoining Facebook group post which I happened to close with “I hope you have a splendid holiday season!”
I admit, I anticipated some amount of blowback when I had to establish a new rule in the homeschool support group I help moderate. A plethora of heated posts take over the page each Christmas, Easter, and Reformation Day/Halloween – to the extent that parents complain they can’t find the relevant homeschooling info they joined the group for, sometimes. My fellow admins and I finally elected to outlaw holiday debate posts and I was the one to enforce this new guideline. I did not, however, imagine that the blowback would include a personal attack based on assumptions about my motives and character.
“Enjoy taking Christ out of Christmas”
This grossly inaccurate statement makes me recoil each time I read it. Beyond that, however, I cringe at how such an audacious statement would come across if I were not a Christian. Even if I didn’t care about God, I certainly wouldn’t like it if someone I didn’t know made claims about my motives and what I “enjoy” without talking to me first. If I didn’t already know Christ, I wouldn’t want to come any closer if this is what His followers are like.
When I was first hit with this person’s words, it took a lot not to tweet something equally critical and judgmental back at them.
I looked at their post and began to get bitter towards them about how unfairly I’d been treated. I kicked and berated myself for being an idiot, for letting myself lazily lump Christmas and New Years together into the term “holiday season” instead of spelling them both out. I spoke angrily about this incident to a friend as I darkly hummed “So This is Christmas”.
I had a dark cloud over me most of the evening as I prayed that God would help me stop fantasizing about all the biting remarks I could make to this individual. Then, suddenly, it hit me why it was so very hard for me to mirror Christ at that moment:
It’s impossible to mirror someone if you aren’t looking at them.
And I have to confess, I was definitely not looking at Christ that night. I looked at the other person. I looked at myself. I looked at the situation. But until that moment, I hadn’t looked at Christ.
It all comes back to that simple phrase that every 90’s Christian child had on their bracelet: “What Would Jesus Do?”
Matthew 7:12 says, “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
And Ephesians 4:31-32 says, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
These aren’t things I am naturally prone to do of my own accord. But through the power of the Holy Spirit, even I can be equipped to mirror Christ because of the sacrifice He made for us. And even better yet, I can be adopted and welcomed into His family.
So, thanks be to God, I can end this tale on a thankful note.
I am thankful for the excitement and beauty of the Christmas season. I am thankful for who God is and who He enables me to be. I can now even say I am thankful for that person on Twitter.
Peace be with you, and merry Christmas!