Every year we all receive forwarded e-mails with inspirational holiday messages, be it thinking about our troops during the season, “keeping the Christ in Christmas” or remembering the “reason for the season.” They are mostly inspirational messages produced by a stranger, usually with some beautiful photography, Bible quotations and prayers. Nice reminders for any Christian who can appreciate the holiday for more than wrapped presents around the tree.
But then there are THOSE viral e-mails I could really do without – the “Christmas is under attack” missives. Dire warnings that Christmas is in danger of losing all its spirituality in America because of hell-bound liberals, the ACLU or Democrats in general. Here’s one recent example claiming the White House wanted to rename “Christmas trees” as “holiday trees.”
Our common ground when it comes to Christmas is that we all want to celebrate our holidays however way we want. We appreciate the personal freedom to put a couple thousand lights on our house, decorate a live tree in our living room, put a Nativity Scene on our front lawn, or ignore the whole thing altogether. And the thing is, I don’t think celebrating Christmas is a big problem in America. I don’t think faith is in any danger of being wiped away from those who want to celebrate Christmas that way. But I do see these viral e-mails as an attempt to USE Christmas spirituality as a political-motivated propaganda tool.
I’ve never had to hide my Christmas faith, and no one I know has ever had to hide it either. From the faith-based Christmas cards we mail out, to seeing our kids in the church’s Christmas play, if you want to inject spirituality into your Christmas, there’s plenty of chances. And no one has ever admonished me for wishing them a Merry Christmas either. But at the same time, most of us don’t have a problem with the secular Christmas either. Santa, Rudolf, lights and presents are all fun traditions many families have adopted while celebrating the birth of Christ.
Now this doesn’t mean I don’t respect the fact that others may NOT share my perspective on the holiday. To this end, there’s nothing wrong with wishing a generic Happy Holiday. For my client “Christmas cards,” I pick “holiday greetings” out of respect of the fact I’m not familiar with everyone’s beliefs. In group situations when I’m unfamiliar with the crowd, I will wish Happy Holidays with the same sincerity as I would Merry Christmas. And when I do, I certainly don’t feel my faith is being put into the back seat.
Sure, there are some in the population who are militant in their ANTI-Christmas agenda, and I know there are battles being fought in local jurisdictions. But really, are these isolated cases really enough of a problem that we need to forward the angry e-mail that implies if you don’t, you’re not a real Christian? The real reason for the season is love for your fellow man – and let’s keep politics out of it.
Merry Christmas everyone, and I wish you a very peaceful, safe and joyful holiday.
I agree with Chris that Christmas should not be politicized. Faith is a very personal thing, we should never be forced to hide it, nor should we force others to share it.
I had a thought though. When I was in high school I was part of a group of carolers that went caroling from classroom to classroom. I wonder if today we would be told that we could only sing secular Christmas songs? I have no idea. I just know that when I was in high school it wasn’t an issue. We sang Jingle Bells and Silent night and nobody complained.
My grand advice to those getting all flustered on both sides of the sometimes war over the Christ in Christmas: chill out and celebrate the holiday (or not) in whatever way brings you joy. Christ died not to force people into accepting Him, but to love people into accepting Him. Shouldn’t Christians follow his example? And to those offended by the Christmas tree in the lobby of the post office: really? If displays of Christmas offend you, you are probably going to be miserable in a country where 92% of Americans celebrate Christmas and 2/3 of those consider it a religious holiday.
Here’s the latest poll from Rassmussen on who celebrates Christmas and how: