Thursday, December 22, 2005

Happy Holidays? Merry Christmas?

Maybe it's because I'm getting older -- and hopefully wiser. Maybe it's the influence of Donald Miller and my son, Josh. I don't know. But I find myself seeing things differently today than I would have just a few years ago. One example is the current to-do over businesses' and governments' use of the greeting "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas." Ironically, this has come full-circle. I can remember when I was a kid, in our churches we were encouraged to say "Happy Holidays" because we "didn't believe in Christmas." Anyway, I digress.

I'd like to share a rather lengthy piece from an article written by Brian Mavis of His words express my feelings on all of this. He says:

In the political and business sector the word "Christmas" has been dropped in favor of "Holiday." Governments have put up "Holiday Trees" in public places. Retailers wish customers "Happy Holidays" and hang banners selling "Holiday Trees." So how have some Christian leaders reacted? With lawsuits, boycotts, and petitions. Two groups, Liberty Counsel and the Alliance Defense Fund, have almost 1,600 lawyer-volunteers to fight this movement against display on public grounds of Nativity scenes and Christmas trees -- and even the greeting "Merry Christmas." And it's working. For example, Lowe's home-improvement stores took down "Holiday Trees" banners and put up "Christmas Tree" banners. And House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., ordered the "Capitol Holiday Tree" be renamed the "Capitol Christmas Tree." As Jerry Falwell told ABC News, "We've gone on the offense now. We've put them on the defense. We're kicking their butts, and they're unhappy." (Rick's comment: Sounds just like something Jesus would say.)

I think the Christian groups fighting for our civil liberties have good motives, but bad strategies. Lawsuits, boycotts, and petitions. Is this fighting the good fight? Is this what Jesus would do? Is this obeying, "If someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well" (Mt. 5: 40)? Is this applying, "For though we live in this world, we do not wage war as the world does" (2 Cor. 10: 3)?

In addition, what are they fighting for? That we call a pine or fir tree a "Christmas tree'? There is nothing Christian or biblical about a Christmas tree. We are forsaking Christian principles in order to fight for man-made traditions. Go ahead and let Lowes, Walmart and Macy's sell "Holiday Trees." It's just crass commercialism anyway. It's best that Christ's name not get mixed up in that kind of capitalism. Do you think that these companies are changing back from "Holiday" to "Christmas" because they want to honor Christ? What a joke. They know it's good business.

I appreciate Brian for his thoughts. If we as Christians want to effect change in this nation, we need to turn our attention to feeding the hungry, helping the addict and showing the love of Christ. What do you think?


Jeff said...

Give 'em an inch and they'll take a mile. That seems to be how we react to so many things these days. We do need to protect our freedom in Christ and protect our faith but as you say here, I don't think the battle over trees and banners is what our focus should be. Is our goal really to change the world or is it to help people find God. The "world" may never follow me but one-by-one, I hope I can lead a lost sheep back to the shepherd. That has nothing to do with a sign or label.

Merry Holidays and Happy Christmas.

Beverly Ross said...

Great blog! Thanks for sharing! Let's let the Light of Jesus shine! and stop fighting about things that just don't matter. I would love to be able to recognize the uniqueness of believers! - not because of politics or consumerism, but because we share a distinct common passion - the risen Christ!

Josh Ross said...

I like it! From the beginning, Christianity was an alternative, not the civil authority of a nation or country. I think that is how it is supposed to be. Nobody can take the message of Christ from our hearts or our minds.

Randy said...

In addition to the spiritual war in which we are all engaged, our country is torn by a cultural war as to what the focus of our society should be. Frankly I applaud those who fight against the secularization of Christmas although this is not my battle. I will celebrate Jesus on Christmas and every other day of my life. For another view see