section header graphic
Search the Health Fund website for:

December 21, 2015 - Kim Moore [see other posts]

Christmas Card

Keep Christ in Christmas...Or Maybe Not

The bumper sticker clearly read on a car in Wichita: “Let’s Keep Christ in Christmas”.  It brought back several memories of childhood and prompted a bit of potential Christmas season theology. For those of you too young to remember, “Let’s Keep Christ in Christmas” was a song of the 1950’s or perhaps early 1960’s. It reflected the sense of Christian struggle to avoid the commercialization and secularization of Christmas amid the decades of anti-communism. I have searched for the lyrics and even invited my techie friends to help me search. We have not located lyrics on line to include in this blog. I am sure we have the sheet music in a Longton box (my parents’ things) but I can’t find the box! So, if there is a kind reader of this blog who has the words, I would love to have them. 

I also associate a man named Elmer Childress, rightly or wrongly, with this song. Elmer Childress (his bio is on the web) was a gospel singer (even sang once with The Stamps Quartet) and became a Wichita television personality. He and his family sang throughout Kansas, again in that 1950-1960 period, and came at least once to the Longton Methodist Church (pre-United). My bad memory of that event involves my Dad who was a very talented musician who enjoyed performing. This frequently lead to his making me perform (when I didn’t want to) and eventually making his grandchildren perform (when they didn’t want to). This tendency hit its high (or low) point after the Childress event when he asked Elmer Childress to stay and listen to his very talented son (probably a first grader—okay somewhat older) sing and to give Dad Childress’ appraisal of my talent. Well, he did and I wasn’t.

I wonder if the driver of that car in Wichita has been working all these years to Keep Christ in Christmas. On one hand, it has been a very losing struggle. The forces of commercialization appear to have carried the battle to complete victory. We can’t even get through Halloween without Christmas offerings in the stores. Stores are staying open 24 hours a day leading up to the one day (full or partial?) shutdown for Christmas. I can and do shop on-line and glance at and read hundreds of emails this time of year filling my day with secular Christmas.

Yet, there is another sense in which this battle about Christ and Christmas has been firmly won. The long secret about this struggle is that Giving Christ at Christmas has always been the real path to Christian victory over the evils of the world and to attaining hope for our own lives. We will never contain or protect Christ and, when we try, Christ is diminished. The Good News does not compete with commercialization in a real sense; the Good News is in a divergent universe. I understand that time and attention to the commercial side of Christmas can reduce time for our spiritual growth and nearly drown out the message, but I think the strategy to combat this is to be more intentional about Christmas in our own lives versus attempting to change the world’s animosity to its Savior; that appears to be an everlasting condition.  

And Christ is being given for Christmas this year in many places. Cantatas are sung by choirs filling their lofts. Childrens’ pageants draw in hundreds to witness the old, old story one more time. People with basic needs in all walks of life—high school students of limited means in the case of our church—will receive items they need. Mittens, hats and coats are collected and distributed in the thousands. Churches will be filled with people who believe, who seek, and who doubt and they will hear again a first-century account of how God literally came into the world. Shut-ins will hear carols at their doors. Christ will enter nursing homes, hospitals, war zones, tenements and prisons through the feet and hands of people who are giving him away through their words and lives.

I will pray for Christmas at Rotary and my fervent prayer is “Let that promise of Hope in Jesus the Christ, the Messiah, the Prince of Peace, Emmanuel—very God with us, enter our lives anew this Christmas season and let us be employed to live lives of service in Your expanding Kingdom.”   Let’s Give Christ at Christmas!

Kim Moore
December 21, 2015