Reclaiming Christmas

Terry Paulson
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Posted: Dec 12, 2016 12:01 AM
Reclaiming Christmas

John Gibson, in The War on Christmas, writes, “In the United States of America, a nation overwhelmingly Christian, literally any sign of Christmas in public can now lead to complaints, litigation, angry protests, threats, and bruised feelings. … Secular liberals say they’re just protecting the constitutional rights of non-Christians who don’t want to see or hear about Christmas. But what about the constitutional rights of millions of Americans who simply want to celebrate their traditional holiday—without insulting anyone else but also without having to hide behind closed doors?”

Freedom of religion is not just the freedom to worship as you please. Freedom allows faiths to freely celebrate their own faith and to acknowledge their place in the mosaic that makes America what it is. Seeing other faiths celebrate their own beliefs openly—from Jews celebrating Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kuppur or Hanukkah to Muslims celebrating Eid al-Fitr at the end of Ramadan—does nothing to diminish my faith in Christ. It reaffirms that a vibrant faith can be a driving force for good in a person’s life.

But with Christmas, the secularists are doing everything they can to take Christ out of the Christian holiday that celebrates the coming of Emmanuel—God with us. Christ did not come to justify Santa Claus or to provide another reason to support American commercialism. He came that through faith people might come to have a relationship with God.

Some have called it a War on Christmas, but It might better be described as a politically correct assault on the very word Christmas. Sure, Christians are still free to worship in their churches, but publicly acknowledging the Christ in Christmas is increasingly avoided for fear of offending.

The Hallmark Channel loves to fill the season with moving, even tear-jerking stories of Christmas, but the focus is not on Christ, but on the “Spirit of Christmas.”

You could be hard pressed to find traditional Christian carols celebrating the coming of the Christ child on FM radio or Sirius radio stations which play continuous Christmas music this time of year.

Not to be outdone, most public schools now refuse to include any Christmas carol in their holiday programs.

Terry Fine, a University of Central Florida professor, writes, "In our efforts to be inclusive, we show cultural insensitivity both by equating one major holiday (Christmas) with a minor holiday (Hanukkah) and failing to recognize that diversity includes those who celebrate neither holiday." What is her suggestion? Instead of wishing someone a "Merry Christmas," "Happy Hanukkah" or even "Happy Holidays," she suggests saying "Happy Federal Holiday." Now, doesn’t that excite holiday cheer!

If there is a war on Christmas, it seems that most Christians are settling for silence instead of holding up their side of the battle. You may want to join Denis Prager’s call to trade in your “Happy Holidays” for a joyful “Merry Christmas.”

Charles Shultz, author of Peanuts, was a devout Christian who knew how to stand for his faith in a strong but humorous way. For over 50 years, we’ve watched the eternal underdog Charlie Brown hold his short, scrawny Christmas tree while enduring verbal abuse by his family and friends—Lucy, Sally, and Snoopy— for letting his soft-headed Christmas sentimentality get in the way of Christmas commercialism. But, in the end, those who scoffed at Charlie Brown, learn, with help from Linus’ reading of the Christmas message from Luke, the lessons of God’s mercy and love from that first Christmas morning.

Maybe we could let a little of Trump’s war on political correctness bring believers out of their foxholes. It’s time to let Christmas be Christmas. Let Hanukkah be Hanukkah. Let your faith be visible.

I have a gift for those of you who want to keep Christ in your Christmas. For nearly two decades, I’ve provided a free service called the “12 Days of Christmas” Ezine. For the twelve days leading up to Christmas Day, I provide Christmas stories, inspiring quotations, timely humor, and links to Christmas music designed to keep Christ in Christmas for those who want to find him there. You can see past messages for the last five years and a chance to sign up for this year’s messages at http://terrypaulson.com/christmas.shtml.

And now, may I wish you, my faithful readers, a very Merry Christmas season for you and yours.