Today I want to broach what may be a sensitive subject…
The war on Christmas.
I want to take the position of pointing out what should be “THE OBVIOUS”, but apparently is not, if the conversations that I am overhearing, and even participating in are any indication.
So, is there REALLY even a war on Christmas that exists?
Or is it, as many major media outlets have said,
” All this hype is just a “phony conflict based on manufactured outrage”.
A 2012 survey conducted by Public Policy Polling found that 47% of Americans feel that the struggle is real.
At the very least, there are influential people in our culture who wouldn’t mind diluting and muting the biblical version of Christmas.
My question to all of you is this:
WHAT DID YOU EXPECT?
Like the apostle Paul on Mars Hill (Acts 17:16)
We may initially feel “greatly distressed” by our neighbors’ ignorance of the meaning of Christmas…
But, at some point, we also need to be asking ourselves a few hard questions about this cultural clash.
In the first chapter of John, he clearly tells us that Jesus, the worlds true creator and true light, came to visit us and walk among us as a man, and yet, “his own did not receive him.” (John 1:11)
Throughout his earthly life the Savior repeatedly told us that he would be “dismissed and rejected”, and he promised that we would receive the very same treatment.
So, based on Jesus’ own teaching, I’m not sure where we got the idea that the world would just lay down and unanimously and zestfully join us in a birthday bash for our Savior.
As I contemplated my own reaction to the worldliness of Christmas this year, I began to compare myself to a cowardly football player.
I could almost imagine myself saying to the coach,
” Those uncooperative defensive linemen keep rushing at me, I could easily complete every single pass if they would just stop throwing their arms in the air and trying to tackle me.”
At that point I would deserve nothing less than to have the coach grab me by the facemask and scream in my face…”are you kidding me? That is what the defense DOES! Quit worrying about them and just do your job, start completing the passes!”
So, have you been like me, distracted by the masses throwing their arms in the air and protesting Christmas?
We belong to a democratic society.
We too, have the right to speak the truth into the public square.
Just because some people choose not to join us in the birthday celebrations doesn’t mean that we should just ignore the birthday ourselves.
To use the football analogy again,by “completing passes “ you can choose to be creative and gentle in your response to someone who is speaking negatively about Christ.
The next time someone tells you, “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” don’t get offended, use it as a chance to start a conversation.
Say something like,
” Thank you for your kindness. I am so excited to have this chance to remember and celebrate the greatest birth in History. What are you excited about during this season?”
Ask respectful questions.
Engage as a human being.
It might be risky.
It will take time.
But it sure beats perpetuating the War.
For many of us the reason for the season gets reduced to tidy and trite sayings such as,
“Hang out with the family for a day and try to get along.”
“be less materialistic.”
Every year the drive to get more shopping done earlier increases.
We pile on so much pressure that we are literally bursting at the seams trying to get it all done.
No wonder the comedian Stephen Colbert joked:
“Halloween is just around the corner. You can tell because the stores are all decked out for Christmas.”
WHAT IS CHRISTMAS REALLY ALL ABOUT?
Lets answer that question by deciding what Christmas is NOT about.
It is NOT about us.
It is NOT about impressions.
It is NOT about our schemes for moral improvement.
or…our plans to qualify for something more than a “lump of Coal” in Heaven, so to speak.
Christmas is about Christ.
Christmas is about a beautiful love story.
This story started with an unplanned pregnancy.
Followed with a unceremonious birth,
a life of struggle,
the conviction of an innocent man,
and the unimaginable death he suffered.
He ended his life as a condemned criminal, stripped naked, asking for water as he prayed with parched lips, “My God, why have you forsaken me?”
But the glorious part,
the part that makes me want to celebrate…
is the fact that Jesus, the true creator of this Earth, was willing to come here and walk among us as a man to accomplish the gift of Eternal Life, salvation!
He WILLINGLY stepped down from His throne so that He could give me the gift of Salvation.
I celebrate Christmas because I know that even if I had been the only person ever born on this Earth, He would have done the same thing to save only me.
The tradition of ADVENT allowed the Jews to pay attention, remember, pray, and express their ache for the coming Christ.
It was a time for them to be like Mary, that humble and innocent young woman who hungered and thirsted after knowledge and understanding.
Instead of focusing on the alleged WAR on Christmas, what would happen if you read and pondered the words in (John 3:1) and Beheld what manner of love the Father has given us.
stop trying to get life right,
and just allow Jesus to captivate you all over again.
I bet if you do, the same thing that happened to me will happen to you…
You’ll be a lot more impressed with the Savior and a lot less worried about some alleged battle in our culture.