Okay, so after seeing clip after clip on Fox News, I feel I must chime in on the whole War on Christmas crusade. I have a unique view of what is going on, so I hope that those in the Christian community will forgive me if I don’t seem quite as gung-ho about the whole thing.
First of all, let’s be clear about what is going on. On the one hand, the liberal progressives are using this as a very subversive way to attack Christianity, God, Jesus, and conservative Christian America in general. They are a powerful group of lawyers and entertainers (I don’t call most of them journalists) with a very radical agenda and they are angry that Bush and the Republicans won the last election. They are furious we have a president who professes Christianity.
On the other hand, what Bill O’Reilly and Gibson of Fox are doing isn’t much better. I would tend to agree with their side to a degree, but they are entertainers as well. Fox News is refreshingly moderate to moderate/conservative, and this is an awesome way to get ratings. The overall issue of anit-Christian bias and attacks on Christians themselves is extremely complicated, but they know that extremely complicated doesn’t sell ad time. O’Reilly admits the bigger picture, but still chooses to rant and rave about this issue. Everyone from “Rev” Fallwell to O’Reilly is using this issue to rally support for a Christian tradition in America.
The real question to me, and here is where I might lose some people, is what are we to do? What is our role, as Christians, in this matter? I don’t hear many people really discussing this. I hear a lot of anger and finger pointing and talk of lawsuits, but who is discussing the Biblical standard for our actions? I guess I will point out the hard facts by asking some tough questions.
When was Christmas instituted in scripture? Jesus directed us to remember him through bread and wine (the Passover meal, the real Passover lamb) and to baptize people (in water and in Spirit). I don’t remember any direction by the apostles or Christ that his birthday should be celebrated.
Why do we fight for something that is all about profit and getting what we want? From what I remember, at His birth it was Jesus who got the presents, not others. Compare how much you personally spend on your family and yourself to how much you give to an assembly or a charity or the poor at Christmas. Is it even close? Remember Jesus said if you give to the least of these, you give to Him. Sometimes I see how much stuff kids get at Christmas and it makes me sick what we are teaching them about Jesus. I have missionary friends from Fiji that make their daughters pick two presents to keep and they give the rest away to a charity. I like that idea. Micah probably won’t at some point.
Doesn’t the Bible say not to argue about New Moon Festivals or holidays or days of observance? Colossians says it will rob us of our reward. By the way, Jesus was probably not born on December 25th for various reasons. December 25th was actually a Roman pagan holiday. But we won’t argue about the day. We can celebrate it any time you want. But the issue remains: how do we handle this?
What would Jesus do? It was a popular bumper sticker until it challenges Christians. Fallwell was asked this question on Fox News and his response was, “That’s not the point …” That’s not the point? You’ve got to be kidding me. No wonder the Christian witness is so tainted in America. Would Jesus sue companies or the government? Would he organize boycotts? Maybe, but I doubt it. He would have been way too busy feeding the hungry and clothing the naked and healing (yes, healing! … a post for another time) the sick and preaching the good news. Or maybe I’m reading a different Bible than other people.
I would say that we should do the same. Why can’t we use all these resources to feed the hungry instead of suing the government? Is a tree with lights on it really more important? Your bank statement is the best indication of your priorities. I wonder what would happen if we got this angry about the hungry, the sick, the naked, the poor and those in prison. This might actually become a Christian nation again in reality, not in commercialization and tradition. Woodrow Wilson said, “Constitute them how you will, governments are always governments of men, and no part of any government is better than the men to whom that part is entrusted.”
We are fighting the wrong battle.
As a PS, let me make one argument that the liberal progressives might understand. If I moved to Turkey or Lebanon or Afghanistan, should I expect Christmas to be the major holiday it is in America? Of course not. Should I be offended that they celebrate Ramadan? Of course not. In our attempt to be inclusive, we will lose our identity as a Christian nation, which is their agenda, of course. But my answer to those who are offended by the word Christmas or even that it is a federal holiday, it is not our hope to offend, only to celebrate that which is a part of this Westernized Christian nation. It was never the founding fathers’ design for the government to be a completely secular government. They understood the need for God’s help and His protection. They only feared an abuse of Christianity by an organized religion established by the state. But make no mistake, Franklin, Washington, Madison, Jefferson, and others greatly desired the United States of America to be a nation dedicated to serving God and His purposes. They saw it as absolutely essential.
Let’s truly fight for it instead of superficial traditions and political victories.