"A lot of the Christmas celebration is a nostalgic veneer that doesn't really connect very deeply theologically," says Mary Helene Rosenbaum, head of Dovetail Institute for Interfaith Family Resources, based in Boston, Ky.
When she advises religiously mixed families, she finds what works best is pragmatic: Elevate the holiday trappings over doctrine.
"We really are becoming a secular society," she says. "When you ask people their religious identity, they're really talking about their sense of community and belonging," not wrestling with ideas about God.
Quotes from Where is Christ in Christmas?
Christians... note how secular trends result even in environments which ignore, discourage, or deny the issues/truth. We must take note that secular trends seek to relegate the truth. This should be noted especially when one considers our calling to evangelism and opportunities to reach out with the gospel.
Some pertinent topics of conversation in situations like this include:
1. I note we tend to ignore the core issues of Christmas when we get together, but would it not be better for all to hold personal convictions and be able to express them?
2. Which is better to elevate and consume ourselves with the trappings of Christmas, or discuss and respond to the substance of Christmas?
3. While I value and respect people's personal beliefs, and even value peaceful relations among families, do we not miss out on a great opportunity to reflect upon and discuss the issues of Christmas at a time like this. If we don't do it now, when will it be done?
Note: I recognize the place of honoring the desires of the host, not turning holliday gatherings into family fights and quarrels, etc., but if such topics as this cannot be addressed, then perhaps there are greater underlying problems and prejudices that also might become a topic of discussion.
Mindsets such as set forth in the article are sure to come, but the believer's call to witness does not go away. We must recognize the contexts in which we live, make adjustments in the times, places, and situations that which we give ourselves to, and also consider the directions and/or demands of the world upon us. Above all, we must make the most of every opportunity for Christ!