Andrée Seu Peterson: Tis the season

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Thursday, December 13th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from member-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Commentator Andrée Seu Peterson now with a confession and a new attitude about Christmas.

ANDRÉE SEU PETERSON, COMMENTATOR: I am having second thoughts about my “Let the dead bury their own dead” Christmas attitude. In one WORLD column I took a swipe at rich people gifting other rich people. Immediately after, lavish expressions of seasonal love came flooding my way—from people who either don’t read WORLD or who forgave me. 

Here’s a C.S. Lewis Christmas anecdote from Letters to an American Lady—quote—“My brother heard a woman on a bus say, as the bus passed a church with a Crib outside it, ‘Oh Lord! They bring religion into everything. Look—they’re dragging it even into Christmas now!”

There are churches that do Christmas to the hilt. There are others that religiously ignore it, studiously doing nothing different on December 25th than December 26th… or the second Tuesday of July.

Between the polarizing extremes of human conviction, one can often count on God coming up with a third way that is breathtakingly simple.

This Christmas curmudgeon, who by temperament hates shopping malls and experiences the four weeks after Thanksgiving as a tightening vise, has come to a via media between rejecting Christmas entirely (they tell us it would wreck the economy) and a whole-hog embrace.

I took my tirade to a more sanguine Christian friend, who loves God and loves malls. Together we decided that, like it or not, we’re stuck with Christmas. A wise man deals with reality as he finds it, and turns it to advantage for the kingdom of God.

Folks who haven’t darkened a church door all year get warm and fuzzy over Christmas carols in the weeks before Christmas. This is your window of opportunity. On December 26th the music will stop cold.

So rejoice in taking back in free publicity for the gospel that the courts are taking away with the other hand as Ten Commandment plaques are yanked from judges’ offices.

“Christ the Savior is born…to save us all from Satan’s pow’r when we were gone astray, O tidings of comfort and joy.”  

People have been saved in weirder ways than hearing Christmas music. I have a friend who was saved by a highway billboard.

Here’s the Pauline strategy, as outlined in Colossians 4:5: “Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.”

Make a list of people who would find you weird if you did something nice for them any other time of the year but the happy bubble of the Christmas season. Invite your next-door neighbor—whom you’ve only waved to from the driveway for 12 months—out to breakfast at the local diner and catch up on her life.

Brainstorm Christmas like D-Day because the Son of God was born in a manger, dead for sinners, raised for our salvation. Repent of not believing that the gospel is “the power of God.” At Christmas time as much as any other.           

For WORLD Radio, I’m Andrée Seu Peterson.

(Photo/Kevin Dooley, Flickr)

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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