Rev. Dr. Niveen Sarras
December 24, 2019
Christmas Eve Sermon
Merry Christmas! It is the most joyful time of the year for Christians. Am I right? Tell me about your stress level this season. Are you joyful or stressed out? In this era, the Christmas season can be anything but merry. Decorating, food and gift buying, etc. which are pricey, negatively affect your mood. Christmas drains your energy and wallet. More and more people become depressed at this time of year because of the excessive commercialization of Christmas, with the focus on gifts and the emphasis on “perfect” social activities.
Secular and modern Christmas has replaced Jesus Christ with Santa in the hearts and minds of many Christians. According to the Bible, Jesus is the reason for the season, but according to Wall Street, Santa Claus is the economic engine that keeps the season going full throttle from Black Friday until Christmas Eve.” Secularism tries to make Christmas as a secular, multicultural, and national festival. This is not the purpose of Christmas.
Christmas is a religious and holy celebration. It is different than Memorial Day or the Fourth of July when all the citizens of the United States participate in these national days. I learned from the news that the highest selling Christmas digital song of all time in United States is not “O holy Night,” or “Angels We Have Heard on High," but “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” which does not mention our Lord Jesus Christ.
Christmas means Mass of Christ, not the mass of Santa. Unfortunately, each year Christmas becomes more secular. Each Christmas, Christ, is diminished more and more. To make Christmas more inclusive, secularism has replaced Merry Christmas with happy Holiday and Christmas tree with Holiday Tree. I try my best to be politically correct but being politically correct should not come at the expense of my faith. The act of de-Christianization of Christmas aims to create a gap between God and human beings.
The incarnation of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ intended to reconcile us with God the Father. God became a human being to carry our pain and sorrow and to embrace us when we are struggling and suffering.
Santa cannot replace Jesus. Santa brings you happiness, but he cannot bring you joy. Only our Lord Jesus Christ brings joy to your heart regardless of your circumstances. Secular Christmas overwhelms you, but Jesus Christ tells you “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
The spirit of the real Christmas inspires us to rejoice in "finding joy in the spirit of humility, of poverty, and of lowliness" that the baby Jesus Christ demonstrated. No one can enjoy this true spirit of Christmas like the true Christians. Non-Christians who focus on secular Christmas are missing the spirit of Christmas.
Christmas should not continue to be a national holiday or secular festival. We are called to work with one another and with our children to teach them that the reason we celebrate Christmas is not Santa but our Lord Jesus Christ. I invite you to take steps for next Christmas. Limit the gifts to children and let these gifts be inexpensive. Encourage your kids to buy gifts for poor children. Help them to focus on Jesus instead of Santa. Your children can rely on Jesus to help them in every step of their lives. Santa says, "You better not cry," or "you better behave yourself," but Jesus says, "Cast all your cares on me" (1 Peter 5:7).
Commercial Christmas should not replace true Christmas. Santa should not replace Jesus Christ, who walked beside the poor, spoke up against injustices, and healed the sick. Santa should not replace our Lord Jesus Christ, who voluntarily accepted the death on the cross on Calvary and rose from the dead so that you may live and have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10).