Over the past few years there’s been great concern about the “war on Christmas”. Everyone has been up in arms over “holiday” trees, saying “happy holidays,” and various other ambiguous terminology. Political correctness has run amuck, they say.
I’ll admit it bothers me too. In fact, some of the extremes the PC go to are downright ridiculous. I mean, are we going to carry these changes across the board? What about Santa Claus? That’s a Christian term. Are we going to start calling the Menorah a “holiday candelabra”? Jesus Christ the “holiday infant”? What about the word holiday itself? I mean, “HOLY” day? There seems to be no end to the idiocy.
But let’s be honest. We’ve been headed here for years. The “war” on Christmas is indicative of the direction our society has been slowly progressing. This is the fruit of a deeper root problem.
I recall seeing some time ago, an informal street poll asking children what Christmas meant to them. Nearly every one immediately said, “Santa” or “Gifts”. Now before you write me of as a “Santa = Satan” nut, you have to admit that the trend is disturbing.
The secularization of Christmas is nothing new. That’s why I have mixed emotions about the backlash against it. I’m glad the envelope finally got pushed far enough that people realized the situation. Maybe now something productive can be done about the root problem.
At the same time, there are a fair share of twits on the other side of the battle. I am disturbed that some people think they have included Christ simply by singing Silent Night, decorating a Christmas tree, or putting out a Nativity scene. I recently heard of a family that wanted to make sure they “stayed focused on the real meaning of Christmas.” They decided to have Santa bring the children 3 gifts this year, in honor of the 3 wisemen. Wow! That’ll teach ’em! This kind of stuff is just as ridiculous as the people who try to ignore Him.
Now, the word is that the “war on Christmas has been won.” But has it really? If you want to get rid of a tree, you don’t rake the leaves, you chop the trunk. The external issues are just symptomatic of a much deeper problem, and these roots still run deep.
According to a legend Satan and his demons were having a Christmas party. As the demonic guests were departing, one grinned and said to Satan, “Merry Christmas, your majesty.” At that, Satan replied with a growl, “Yes, keep it merry. If they ever get serious about it, we’ll all be in trouble.”
The real problem is that even when we call it a Christmas tree, sing Christmas carols, give Christmas cards, and eat Christmas candy, we still may not be serious about Christmas. It is the birth of the SON OF GOD. It is “God and sinner reconciled.” It is the hope of salvation.
This task falls to those who put their faith in Christ. Can we honestly expect the retailers to do it? No. Their job is to make money. How can we then fault them for catering to the material appetites of their customers? Can we expect the children? No, not on their own. Any child (and most adults) will be more excited about unwrapping their new Wii than the soteriological impact of the incarnation. We certainly cannot and should not expect those of other faiths to do so.
It’s time we take the responsibility to make Christmas about the Gospel once again. After all, the “good news” the angels sang of was the “gospel.” Let’s get serious about it. Let’s chop on the trunk rather than pulling off a few twigs. The real Spirit of Christmas must be in our hearts before it will be in our actions.