Do Christians have to say "Jesus" at Christmas?
As a creator of content for children, I thought long and hard about how I could express the Christmas message in a fun, engaging, and meaningful way for both children and adults. I wanted it to be authentic to the 8-10 age group I was targeting to be highlighted. I wanted it to be classic. Timeless. Inspiring. I wanted it to make people smile for 15 minutes straight.
After I watched the final edit of the presentation before it was uploaded, I wondered whether both Christian and non-Christians appreciate it. Would the non-Christian audience dislike the presentation because it acknowledged the Christian message in Christmas? Would the Christian audience criticize the presentation for it not being "Christian" enough? Was I guilty of saying Xmas-- taking Christ out of Christmas?
The more I thought about it, the more I interested I became in whether or not one has to mention the name of Jesus in order for Jesus to be mentioned?
For Christians who say "yes", I get it. I think the inspiration comes from a passage of Scripture in Philippians:
“…at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:10-11
The stories of Jesus in the New Testament point to the power of the man Jesus; His connection with GOD and His love for the world. But the aforementioned passage stands out because it points to the power of the name of Jesus and what will result from that power in the future. Combined with the directives in the Great Commission, those who profess Christianity as their path believe that present-day Christians should use the name of Jesus because of it’s past, present, and future power.
However, the name of Jesus is a symbol of the man, Jesus. And the man Jesus is a symbol of the Father, GOD. Symbols have no power in and of themselves. Intent empowers them and so does what they point to.
Jesus: A Symbol of Light
Jesus is said to be both the Word of GOD (made flesh) and the Son of GOD. The words of GOD are said to be a lamp unto our feet, and a light unto our paths (Psalm 119:105), which makes Jesus the Light of the World. Light expels darkness. It represents awakening and truth.
This year’s Holiday message is about light. So isn't it inevitably about Jesus? I think so, especially when we get deeper into the question the virtual presentation focuses on: "Why are there so many lights up around Christmas?" Briefly put, it is because the Christmas season contains the year’s darkest days and longest nights. And if the adage “as without, so within; as above, so below” is true, then the darkness we experience outside can be experienced on the inside as well. And sometimes, the inner darkness can make us feel sad and gloomy (Read Holiday Lights: Explore the Darkness). However, it is also true that lights shine to expose and expel the darkness; and those lights can be experienced both externally and internally. And if it is true that we have an inner light in us (that Christians call Jesus or the Holy Spirit) then we have the ability and even responsibility to let that light shine—especially in a dark and cruel world.
Christmas as a Symbol
So, does the name of Jesus have to be mentioned in order for Jesus to be mentioned? I don’t think so. It feels too confining to answer yes. It feels too limiting to answer yes. Besides, isn’t Christmas is more than a recognition of Jesus’ physical birth? It has to be, especially since no records indicate that He was born on December 25th anyway. Christmas is a symbol of the power of light. It is a symbol of the hope that light brings. And it is also a essential reminder of the power of light in children (which is one of the reasons GOD came to the world as a child).
In a way, children are lights of the world. And I believe that instead of spending our lives waiting for the light to return, we should be the lights we want to see in the world (especially if it is in us).
This Christmas, let your inner light shine!
Turn on the light.
Shine the light.
BE the light!
Smile for 15 min straight HERE.
See the lights of over 30 children shining brightly!