I’ve been reading a lot of articles, blog posts, tweets, and status updates regarding the traditional “war on Christmas.” What was once a time to show the world a story of hope and peace has now become a point of contention between Christians and, well, everyone else.
I’d like to go on the record and officially separate myself with the school of thought behind Alice Stewart’s article, The War On Christmas Continues, Charlie Brown, found on (you guessed it) the Fox News website. In her article, she (in a way that shows no love for the lost) suggests that atheists go look into thin air and “leave our Christmas traditions alone.” I’m afraid that this kind of thinking has gotten too popular among Christians today. It’s reckless and damaging. It alienates non-Christians. It is counter-productive to the big picture.
It’s interesting to note that while Christians have recently become notorious in society for passionately defending a “biblical definition of the family unit,” they have openly embraced society’s commercialization and secularization of Christ’s birth.
We really only have ourselves to blame, here. So much of what we hold dear to ourselves during the Christmas season has no Biblical basis whatsoever. Here: complete this sentence honestly: “My favorite Christmas memories involve _________.” So many of us fight and fight about people (government, atheists, liberals, the ladies on The View, take your pick…I’ve seen them all thrown out there) who are supposedly waging a war against “our Christmas traditions.” The irony is that every year, most Christians perpetuate – even embrace – the things that have led to the over-secularization of Christmas. I am admittedly guilty of this as well. Consider this: you are inadvertently fighting on what you might consider to be the wrong side of the war on Christmas if you…
- think Jesus’ birthday is December 25th
- take part in the Santa Claus tradition by passing on his story and hanging stockings
- have a Christmas tree in your home
- don’t know why green and red are the common colors associated with Christmas
- equate snowmen with Christmas
- decorate your home with Christmas lights
- gotten drunk at an office Christmas party
- over-eaten on “holiday foods”
- have ever submitted or helped fulfill a “Christmas list” with items that have nothing to do with the birth of Jesus
We’re not just guilty for messing up Christmas, either. We hide Easter eggs to celebrate Christ’s death and resurrection, go trick-or-treating without knowing why, go on romantic dates on Valentine’s Day, drink green beer and eat corned beef on March 17 — we’re regular holiday slayers.
There are more things to add to the list, but hopefully by now you get the idea. The “Christmas” that so many are fighting to preserve does not even remotely resemble the Nativity on which the holiday is based. Which begs the question, WHAT war on Christmas? If it’s the over-commercialization of Christmas, then we’re all willing soldiers in Fox News’ “fair and balanced,” over-hyped war against baby Jesus. But if what you’re fighting for is the ability to focus on Jesus as the “reason for the season,” then calm down. No grinch is going to take that away, because — and I can’t stress this enough — Jesus can’t be un-born! His birth is always going to be in the books, and no atheist can take away our right (as Americans) to celebrate that.
IMHO, the fact that governments and municipalities are taking steps toward religious neutrality only increases our freedom as Christians to celebrate the birth, death, and resurrection of our Savior. Consider this: I am comforted that with the separation of church and state, I will be able to send my daughter to a school without worrying about there being some crazy teacher with a [non-Christian] philosophical agenda to pin on my kid.
Does boycotting a store for saying “Seasons Greetings” do anything to turn the focus back to Jesus? Does staging a live protest in downtown Santa Monica do anything to make city officials turn around come to Jesus? Or does it just make America even more tired of Christians? But if you’re still convinced that 1) the atheists are out to get your Christmas, and 2) they’re making progress, stop and think. Jesus said to rejoice when you feel persecuted for your beliefs (Matthew 5:11-12). I’m not suggesting that there isn’t an anti-Christian agenda out there (there definitely is). What I’m saying is that the mere existence of such an agenda indicates that Jesus is continuing to challenge the worlds’ philosophies. What a great thing!
Besides – there are some issues of house cleaning to address. Why is it that so many in the church fight so dearly for public recognition of the Nativity, but in their own hearts, there is no evidence of Christ? Perhaps we could do some work on all of the “sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these” (Galatians 5:19-21) that are prevalent even among today’s Christians.
Listen. God came to earth. As a human. He did it not “to condemn the world, but to save the world through him (John 3:17).” This Christmas, you have a choice: participate in the endless bickering (which has become a tiresome tradition), or do something that shows the world that a Savior has been born.
Happy holidays, everyone! (see what I did there?)