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 sermoncentral.com. 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?