Beyond Merry Christmas
Every year at this time, there comes the inevitable holy war. The great debate. The Yuletide divide. I'm talking about Merry Christmas being replaced with Happy Holidays. If it were only that, it would be more tolerable. However, it is more than an alternative greeting. It defines the general absence in secular mindsets of the true meaning behind Christmas. How dare they? Well, they do dare and it is catching on. Are we losing this battle? Or better yet, is this battle worth even fighting? I think most Christians would balk at the notion that this is not worthy of our concern. For it most certainly is. The question I have is, "Are we fighting this the right way?"
The Christmas season seems to bring forward our characteristics. Those who are usually chipper and upbeat can get downright annoying during Christmas with all of their perfect decorations and their seemingly endless supply of Christmas sweaters. These people have perfect family photos for cards and they arrive in your mail by December 1st. They had time to do this because they had their tree up and decorated the day after Halloween and they finished their shopping in August.
Those who are going through tough times are not so chipper, especially around Christmas. This is a very hard season to get through when we've lost someone or have fallen on hard times. The weight of the world was already on our shoulders. We didn't need a big guy in a red suit to land his sleigh and eight reindeer on the top of that pile. This season drives too many to the breaking point.
More importantly, our beliefs become exploited exponentially during the Christmas season. It is said that over 80% of Americans believe in the God that Christians worship. When the minority public lobbies to remove our Christian heritage from Christmas, it makes a lot of people in this country very angry. It becomes newsworthy when stores demand that their employees say "Happy Holidays". Nativity scenes on government properties are removed by the few who skew the meaning of separation of church and state. The way our children celebrate a Christmas party in school is guided by generics.
Why does this make us so angry? The short answer is because it forcefully removes the majority's traditions to satisfy the minority agenda. But if we look deeper, we might see that the 80-plus percent of us who believe in God may have let it develop. Let us ask why we wait until Christmas to profess our beliefs? Why are we not as strong in our convictions in June as we are in December? Why do so many of us, in the name of giving and goodwill, live the Word for these few weeks, then retreat to our secular standards of living by January 1st?
Can you imagine if everyone who believes in God, believes he sent His son to redeem us, and believes His son went to the cross for our salvation… if each believer staked their lives in those beliefs with regular worship and a consistent glorification of God, we would be unstoppable! Opposition to the PROPER and TRUE reason for Christmas would be a small voice among a great force. Christ would be on the forefront of the subject, and not just a reaction to campaigns of the contrary already in progress. If those whose belief in God evolved into a life in God, Christmas wouldn't be the only thing that we could win back.
To be honest, all of this is actually Biblical in principal. Nowhere in the Bible will you find the word "Christmas". The Bible tells the story of the virgin birth, but nowhere does it tell us to observe it annually. Rather, the Bible is an all-life encompassing guide to the way we can spiritually conduct ourselves on a daily basis. Simply put:
· The Bible instructs us to live a life in the pursuit of Holiness. Most of us do not do this and live in complacency to the absence of God around us.
· The Bible says nothing about observing Christmas. Most of us do this to incredible extremes, then get angry when others try to remove God from it.
So here is my suggestion. Forget all about what people should say. Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas… the choice is not enough to win anyone over anyway. Nativity scenes? Erect them in your yard, but don't fight for the same at City Hall. Rather, focus on the other eleven months of the year. If you believe in Jesus Christ as the savior of the people of God, then live that belief all year round. If each person who believes as such did this, Christmas would take care of itself. The reason for the season would be too strong for anyone to really change it.