Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Merry Christmas!

News flash:  Oprah announces she has fallen off the diet wagon.  She has again gained back her weight.  This will allow her to co-write another best-selling diet book.  (Forgive me.  I know my cynicism comes out on things like this).

How many times will people follow a story like this?  All the millions that people spend on diet books and diet pills, etc.  It comes down to the "less-more" diet.  Eat less and exercise more.

Does it bother you to hear a traditional Christmas tune having secular words sung to it?  This morning, I heard a commercial for a kids' movie.  The words?  "We wish you a happy holiday.  We wish you a happy holiday.  We wish you a happy holiday, and a happy new year."  Wow.  They're certainly all about "happy."

Then there was a commercial that was sung to the tune of "Noel."  No more "born is the King of Israel."  No, now it's used to sell some product.
I am sad that in my religious tradition, we have been more aligned with the secular world when it comes to Christmas.  We do the Santa Clause thing, but not the Jesus thing -- because we can't know for sure when He was born.  It almost seems like we were proud of knowing that the date of His birth is not known -- and this is how we show it.  Yet, most people who have celebrated Christmas as the birth of Jesus knew that too.

So it seems inconsistent for us to be upset that traditional Christmas songs have been stripped of their religious meaning.  But for the last 20 years or so, that has been different for me. Christmas is the celebration of the incarnation -- God breaking into this world as a man.  And I want to stand with all those who want to recognize that.

What's happening in our country is so interesting.  The Jews can celebrate Hanukkah.  The Moslems can celebrate Ramadan.  Even Kwanza is talked about in schools.  But we Christians are accused of being totally insensitive and intolerant to call this season Christmas.  I'm going to need someone to explain this to me.

I love to go to a store where the employees have been told to say, "Happy Holidays."  I respond with a joyful, "Merry Christmas."  And they smile at me, and say almost undercover, "Merry Christmas to you, too."  Folks, it reminds me of the Russia I was told about when I was a kid!

Am I over-reacting?       


Jeff said...

I have mixed emotions. On one hand, I want to be offended by society taking "Christmas" out of our greetings. On the other hand, I see it as a precursor of the days to come. As this country is overtaken by more and more foreign interests, I imagine many things changing and the celebration of Christmas is just one of them. I'll even go so far to say that it won't be long before the challenge against Christmas will be simple compared with the issues (or battles) Christians will be challenged with. I hope I'm wrong and in the meantime, will continue to wish you and everyone else a very Merry Christmas.

Kyle R. said...


I fear you may be correct. The attempted removal of Christ from Christmas may be the least of our concerns.

Rick Ross said...

This was a response by my son, Josh:

Over-reacting? Maybe so.

Is it a reason to be depressed? I don't think so.

The early Christians didn't celebrate Christmas or Easter, but Christianity was thriving as a minority group of people following a Jewish Carpenter who was baffling the religious leaders, healing strange diseases, reaching out to the marginalized, driving out demons, and talking about the Kingdom of God.

As we continue to live into a pluralistic world (which is what the 21st century is), we need to take comfort in the words of Jesus in Luke 10, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few."
Jesus looked around a world that had been spinning out of orbit for years, yet he saw it as a world with great potential. He was optimistic.
And the world has never been the same again.

I love America and I don't want Christianity to die here.