Pastor Greg Laurie gives tips to avoid having a 'fake Christmas'

Christmas with Santa Claus, Frosty the snowman, Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, The Grinch, and other famous holiday characters can never be a real Christmas without Jesus Christ, according to Harvest Christian Fellowship pastor Greg Laurie.

(REUTERS / Andrew Kelly)A decorated house is seen at the Dyker Heights Christmas Lights in the Dyker Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York City, U.S., December 23, 2016.

In an op-ed published on World Net Daily, Pastor Laurie lamented the increasingly generic and commercialized Christmas celebrations of the modern times. He said people now fail to recognize God's sacrifice of giving his son, Jesus, to redeem mankind from sin, as Galatians 4:4-5 says.

Pastor Laurie called on people to ponder on God's gift for them and realize that Jesus had given up his privileges in heaven and took on a lowly position on earth. He emphasized that Christmas was a time to honor Jesus, who lived as a sinless man and died to save people from the consequences of their sins.

In addition, Laurie reminded readers that Jesus Christ was coming back, this time in his full glory. While that time has not yet come, people still have the chance to invite Jesus into their lives and turn to him for rest, which is described in Matthew 11:28.

Lastly, Pastor Laurie said a person can make the choice of having either a real Christmas with Jesus in his life or a fake one. God offers man forgiveness and a chance to gain eternal life in heaven, and one only needs to reach out and accept that gift.

Pastor Laurie's message is timely, considering that a new Pew Research Center survey has revealed that a number of Americans think the religious aspects of Christmas celebrations are now on the decline. The poll found that 56 percent of the respondents said the season's religious aspects were less emphasized now, while 12 percent said they were more prominent, and 30 percent said the situation has remained the same, The Blaze reported.

Moreover, the Pew survey found that more than half of Americans do not mind how businesses greet them during the Christmas season. Only 32 percent said they should be greeted with "Merry Christmas," and 15 percent preferred the more generic "Happy Holidays."