If I had a nickel for every time a Christian maligned society's approach to Christmas, I would have a lot of nickels.
I don't have a problem with it. And here's why: it is the ONLY time in our culture when generosity is the social norm.
Generosity has been shown repeatedly in studies to boost people's sense of personal happiness. In very simple studies, people are given money to spend on themselves while other people are given money to spend on others. Without fail, the individuals who spent money on others reported experiencing more happiness, while the individuals that spent on themselves reported no such change. It is no wonder that Christmastime is adored by our culture almost universally - whether by practicing Christians or secularists. It is the season when we all are encouraged to actively engage and practice vital element in personal happiness, giving to others.
Simply put, we are not designed to be self-absorbed. God did not create us with only our own well-being, wants, and needs to consider. Our social and cultural pressures to put ourselves first, and use all that we generate on ourselves is making us very spiritually sick. We have created a society that really only engages this important aspect of the equation for personal well-being once a year, at Christmastime.
For those of us who are believers, we would be happier if we take to heart this important God-fact and learn God's plan for generosity. God created us to be in an ongoing generous relationship with God and with others. The Old Testament design was to tithe - to give 10% of what we earn for God's Kingdom building. I have never met someone who was unhappy with tithing. But as we know, Jesus not only affirmed tithing, but established the modern church in a New Testament above and beyond manner. The church Jesus launched practiced giving above and beyond 10% as a way of life in order to care for one another and build the church, speeding God's Kingdom-building Gospel as far as missionaries could travel with unprecedented results. God established this church as the hope of the world, His design, His body, His instrument for life change. He gave it one mission, to share Him on earth.
It is no wonder Jesus said that our joy would be made complete in Him. Imagine how happy we would live as God's followers if we put Jesus generosity at the heart of our lives and livelihood. It would never stop being Christmastime!
Regardless of where you now walk with God, take a new look at generosity. Enjoy the unique cultural solidarity of the generosity of the holidays, but take Christmas into the rest of your days.