A “Bah Humbug” Moment…
The hue & cry about the “war on Christmas” is in the news. However, Christmas was not always as popular as some believe. Under the influence of Puritan preaching and clout it was banned by the English Parliament in 1647. It was “banned in Boston” due to the same influence in its Colonial Congregational version until 1856. So while currently the villains are supposedly a nefarious cabal of multiculturalists even Christians have had “bah humbug” moments! The grievances that are listed because the U.S. is no longer a country with a monolithic unofficial civic religion don’t really add up to a significant attack upon the Christian faith. Consider the following:
On a scale of 0 to 100 how important is the public display of a tree (whether called Holiday or Christmas) to the proclamation of the good news of Jesus Christ? Zero
On a scale of 0 to 100 how important is being greeted with “Merry Christmas” vs. “Happy Holidays” at the local store to the discipling of every nation? Zippo
On a scale of 0 to 100 how important is the production of special programs (whether called Christmas or Holiday) to the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in the people of God? Nada
The so-called “war on Christmas” may be good for talk show ratings and for fund raising for reactionary political agendas but is “much ado about nothing” as far as God’s work in the nations. The Son of God never said his disciples would be known by their public nativity scenes or decorating a pine tree. He said they would be known by their love, demonstrated in concrete actions that will benefit others. Love is different from compiling a list of grievances because one’s own cherished traditions no longer exclusively dominate popular culture. The Gospel – the glad tidings of great joy – is more than equal share of religious advertising space. If as much energy & fervor was expended in defending the gospel by the simple preaching, teaching, worship and service of the gathered church as is wasted in enlisting evangelical market share for a war about nothing, the purpose of Christ’s incarnation might be clearer to a world in spiritual darkness.
There – my Scrooge moment is over.