Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Why I don’t like the phrase “Christmas Spirit” (and don’t think it’s Biblical)

Some reflections after Christmas 2007...

You may accuse me of being a Scrooge when you read this…so be it.
Anyway, frequently heard around the month of December, is the phrase “Christmas Spirit” is tossed around, as in “show a little Christmas spirit,” or “do you have the Christmas spirit?” I have pondered this for a few Christmas seasons now, and have come to realize that, as the title of this post says, it isn’t Biblical, and is annoying. ;)

First things first, when someone talks about the “Christmas spirit,” what are they meaning? Usually things like peace on earth and goodwill toward men. Fine things to be sure, but apart from Christ, they will never happen. Having the Christmas spirit is frequently seen as a reason to be kind to others, give to those in need, etc. However, shouldn’t we be doing those things all year round? I’m not quite sure what makes the month of December the one month where we should be nicer and kinder to people. If you are a Christian (and I would guess most of the three people reading this are), we are called to clothe ourselves with “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” (Col. 3:12) Now, I may be missing something, but I didn’t see anything in there about how we should make extra effort to show those traits during the Christmas season. The fruit of the Spirit is not limited to December.

I’m not going to suggest that we turn the phrase “Christmas Spirit” into “Christian Spirit” (that’s far too cheesy), but why don’t we show unusual kindness and love all year ‘round?


Thea said...

I actually just finished a chapter in J.I. Packer's Knowing God that addresses this, and his thoughts are similar to yours (though expounded upon over several pages).

We are mistaken, he says (and I paraphrase), when we limit "Christmas spirit" to one season, or to only the people we know - we ought to be exhibiting this "spirit" of shared burdens and joys all year 'round.

Funny you should bring that up.

Jacob Douvier said...

I agree.