What would a good conservative want for Christmas?
I have a few nontraditional ideas that may shock you. Before I share the perfect gifts with you, let’s have a little history lesson. Although we celebrate Christmas as the birth of Christ at this time of the year, we are not really sure when Jesus’ birthday is. December ironically coincides with the death of a particularly famous, pious priest on December 6, 343…St. Nicholas.
This priest was born in 280 AD, in Patara, a city of Lycia located in Asia Minor. He was called "Wonderworker" (or "Miraculous" or "Miracle-Worker") because of the miracles he performed by God’s grace.
Nicholas was a very rich person who helped people by giving gifts (including money). Who knows, he may have looked like Warren Buffet! Nicholas, who later became a bishop, did not like to be seen when he gave away presents. The children of his day were told to go to sleep early so that Nicholas would be willing to come to their house. Over time, this godly leader became known as Santa Claus.
By 450 AD many churches in Asia Minor and Greece were named after him. He was recognized as a Saint in 800 by the Eastern Catholic Church and in the 1200s Bishop Nicholas Day was celebrated in France. Some scholars believe that by the 1400s Santa Claus was the third most beloved religious figure behind Jesus and Mary. Over the years, his bishop’s cloak, jeweled gloves, crozier, and mitre were traded for the red suit and fur-trimmed hat that we see today.
As a non-Catholic, I do not believe in the active role of the saints in our everyday lives. Yet, just for fun, let’s imagine what it would be like if Santa Claus were to leave a few gifts at the leading U.S. conservative’s home. In my mind it is clear that he would leave four brightly wrapped packages – one green, one white, one red, and one blue.
Within the large green package, there would be three smaller green boxes tied together. The first box would contain a pair of rose colored glasses through which the recipient would be encouraged to look at the economic gains made during the last six years of the Bush administration. The second box would hold an envelope containing a tax refund check for the next year --- activated only after the year’s taxes were appropriately filed. The envelope would also contain a letter stating that all tax rebates and programs which were put in place during the Bush administration would remain in place. The third box in the green package would contain a scroll announcing that the 378 billion dollars spent on the Iraq war to date would be returned with interest by United Nations’ members over the next ten years. In addition, the interest on this debt would be redirected into education, national security, and a host other needed areas.
Next there would be a huge white package containing a set of three books. The first book would entitled, Protecting America’s Borders, the second book would bear the title Defeating Islamic Fascism Around the World, and the third book’s title would be The Use of Humanitarian Aid Instead of Guns in the Third World.
Wrapped in the red package would be three huge, framed items. The first frame would hold a declaration ending legalized abortion in America --- the rescinding of Roe v Wade. The second framed item would be a picture of four adults whose mothers decided not to abort them at the last minute. These four people would consist of two men and two women, one a doctor, one a lawyer, one member of the clergy, and one president of the United States. The third framed item would hold a declaration that major breakthroughs (which ended the future ravages of cancer, diabetes, and a host of other diseases) had been made through the use of adult stem cell research without the use of embryonic stem cells.
Finally, Santa would leave a small blue box containing three dark blue envelopes. The first envelope would contain a decree that fathers from January 1, 2007 would love and care for their biological children. This decree would be backed up by a sovereign work of God, Himself. The second envelope would contain an announcement that a federal marriage amendment would be added to the U.S. Constitution on January 1, 2007. The third envelope would be a pledge stating that the Christian heritage of the U.S. would be honored and affirmed throughout the land for the remainder of our national history.
Well, that’s enough dreaming!
I hope you have a great time with family and friends this Christmas season. I also hope that the love and joy that exemplifies Jesus Christ will be yours in 2007.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Bishop Harry Jackson is chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition and senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, MD, and co-authored, Personal Faith, Public Policy [FrontLine; March 2008] with Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.