A secular Jew who loved Christmas, that’s how you would have described Andrew Klavan (pictured right) as a young child growing up on Long Island, N.Y. Klavan, author of the True Crime series, as well as other mystery/suspense novels, in addition to providing commentary for The Daily Wire, shared in his autobiography how the joyousness of the holiday attracted him to Christmas.
The Great Good Thing chronicled Klavan’s journey from secular Jew, to agnostic, to Christian by detailing the influences that shaped his faith and worldview. He wrote that as a child, he was attracted to the festiveness of the holiday, as well as the presents and the music that made Christmas the splendid celebration we have enjoyed over the centuries.
A friend of the family used to send Klavan Christmas presents, a practice his mother ended. When Klavan protested, his mother allowed him to celebrate Christmas with a Christian family down the street. Even though Christmas was synonymous with toys, Tonka trucks and candy, it was the music and festivities that attracted him to the holiday well into his adult years.
The joy of Christmas is contagious. The holiday spirit spreads like wildfire this time of year. And even though most people celebrate the holiday with the secular traditions of music, parties and gift exchanges, it does provide an opportunity for us to share Christ with an unbelieving culture. The joy of Christmas is a conduit through which we can transmit God’s message of love, redemption and hope, if we conduct ourselves properly.
Over the past several years, we have seen a national debate over “The War on Christmas.” Now, companies should not prevent their employees from celebrating or even acknowledging Christmas. We should advocate for those employees rights.
However, the Christmas war involving greetings or decor in retail locations concerns me. It concerns me that we organize boycotts over a store hanging “happy holidays” in their window, or accost a store clerk for uttering the same phrase to a customer as he checks out.
Often, very little thought goes into saying “happy holidays.” Most of the time, it’s just a catch-phrase that goes with the season. That, or it’s said to include the other holidays of this season, like New Years.
I have said this before, and I’ve been branded an apostate for it, but I do not believe we do the cause of Christ any good when we complain to store managers about “happy holidays” or correct retail employees for saying that phrase. In our battle to keep “Merry Christmas” on the tips of everyone’s tongue, I believe we lose sight of the larger mission to spread Christmas cheer and to re-insert the Gospel into a cultural cornerstone.
If the joy of Christmas can be the starting point for drawing a young secular Jew like Klavan into the faith, imagine what could happen if we let that joy permeate throughout our culture. Imagine how many other Klavans are out there.
So, as we enjoy a wonderful Christmas season, let’s remember the word of God, inscribed in Colossians 4:6, “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”
If someone tells you “Happy Holidays,” gently respond with “Merry Christmas.” And if you get a chance to share the Reason for the season, then by all means, do.