Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The War On Christmas? Puhhhleeze...

Around this time of year, Facebook becomes inundated with complaints from Christians about how awful it is that Christ has been taken out of Christmas by our decaying culture. The “war on Christmas” fights on many fronts. Here are just a few.

An ACLU chapter somewhere invariably has a manger scene removed from some Courthouse lawn. Christians immediately get their stockings in a knot.

A clerk at Walmart greets a shopper with a “Happy Holidays!” instead of “Merry Christmas.” Christians conclude that the four horses of the apocalypse are about to be unleashed.

Christians nearly drive off the road in fury when they see a flashing portable roadside sign advertising fresh X-MAS trees.

When some news reporter refers to the lighting of “holiday trees”, a flurry of phone calls and letters flood the station manager’s office.

When school systems refer to “holiday parties” instead of “Christmas parties” and greet everyone with a hardy “seasons greetings”, home-schoolers everywhere smile smugly, grateful that their kids don’t have to suffer similar humiliation.

 

Where to begin? To start with, I should say that sometimes, the things I just listed do irritate me. It does seem that people twist themselves in rhetorical knots with the politically correct “offend no one” approach to discourse this time of year. Holiday Tree? Frosty the Snowperson? Seriously? However, it is my opinion that the Christian reaction to all of this is equally irritating, and annoyingly inconsistent.

Where was the Christian community fifty years ago when Madison Avenue hijacked the birthday of Christ? I wonder how many Christians were there at the gates of Best Buys all around the country at the stroke of midnight on Black Friday? Why would we even want the celebration of the birth of our savior to be associated with the most out of control exhibition of greed known to mankind? Would having a clerk at Target say “Merry Christmas” make everything all right?

Christ was removed from Christmas in this country long before the first ACLU lawsuit. Does anyone really believe that anything approaching a majority of the people grabbing Tickle-Me-Elmo’s off the shelves of Toys-R-Us are doing so out of some deep-seated desire to celebrate the birth of Jesus? Why are we as Christians suddenly so thin-skinned that the culture has forgotten the true meaning of Christmas? Does it have anything to do with the fact that maybe we have too?

When Jesus talked about salvation he made it clear that Christians would forever be in the minority.
“… For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many will find it, but small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and few will find it.” So, why are we now so out of sorts to find Christianity and it’s celebrations minimized by our culture?

There is nothing stopping us from greeting all who we encounter with a ”Merry Christmas”. There exists no law preventing us from erecting manger scenes on our front lawns, nothing to stop us from buying our trees from only those merchants who bother to spell out the word Christmas. But if we are busy elbowing people out of the way to get that last smart phone at the Apple store, then we have no standing to criticize the store owner who thinks it might attract more customers if he tries to soft-pedal the baby Jesus thing. He’s busy doing what comes natural to him. What comes natural to us?