Inside: A response to the claim that Jesus is happy about all the extravagant Christmas church services.
My mom visited before Christmas for our annual tradition of making Christmas cookies with Grandma.
(It’s actually my favorite visit of the year with my mother, all opinions in this post aside.)
She mentioned how excited she was about singing in her church choir for the big Christmas service because “Jesus loves when we celebrate his birthday”.
That phrase stuck with me, and I thought about it for a long time afterwards. Because I’m pretty sure at one point, I would have agreed with her.
Today? I couldn’t disagree more.
Now there is absolutely nothing wrong with loving music and singing in a choir. If singing in a choir brings you joy, please continue singing your little heart out.
But can we stop pretending that Christmas services are for Jesus? Or that he’s happy about the church extravagantly celebrating his birthday?
Can we acknowledge that at the end of the day, Christmas services and plays and productions are really for us?
All the Things I Imagine Jesus Would Want That Money Spent On, Instead
Wanting or needing an extravagant birthday party seems out of character for the Jesus I grew up learning about in Sunday School.
The Jesus I knew likely doesn’t want all that attention. Or money spent on a birthday party for him.
I would think Jesus would be happier if all the money churches spent on “Happy Birthday Jesus” services was given to the starving, war-torn people of Gaza.
Or the battered Ukranians fighting for their freedom from an authoritarian dictator.
Or, I don’t know, any of the poor and hungry and homeless in their own backyards?
Because didn’t Jesus tell us to take care of the poor and feed the hungry?
When he said, “Remember me,” I’m pretty sure he wasn’t telling us to celebrate his birthday with gusto every year, but to remember the things he was most passionate about.
Things like fighting religious hypocrisy, caring for the poor and the hungry, hanging out with and loving society’s outcasts just as they are.
I’m sure my mom’s Christmas service is mild in comparison to the Baptist Christmas services I’ve seen on Tiktok. YIKES.
With acrobats and dancers and Santa on a sleigh and lights and Broadway level productions in a “sanctuary” with impressively comfortable stadium-seating.
I can say with 99% certainty that Jesus wouldn’t be happy about it. He just might be flipping over stage lights and throwing microphones.
And if he isn’t? If he is happy about it all? Well, then I guess I didn’t know him very well at all.