This means war?
Well, December is here and worries about “the war on Christmas” abound. Some Christian groups and their elves at Fox News are giving daily reports about the grave danger this beloved holiday is in. What can we do to help defend Christmas? Here are a few handy guidelines that keep me calm in the midst of this war. I need to remember that…
- Things have changed. There was a time when Christianity had a virtual monopoly in our land. Almost everyone was at least nominally a Christian. Those that were not knew they lived in an overwhelmingly Christian land. Those times are gone. Our land is more culturally and religiously diverse than ever before. We share the stage at Christmas with those who celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, the Winter Solstice, HumanLight, and a variety of pick-and-choose versions of Christmas. The other day I heard someone say that “Silent Night” was a good song to slow-dance to. Right, that’s why it was written. We are not going to stuff this season back into a long-gone box.
- People who say “Happy Holidays” aren’t doing it to tick you off. The vast majority of us have clued in to point one. They have figured out that, when talking to people they don’t know, it is a safe phrase to wish you well, whatever your beliefs. They are not secretly wishing that God was dead and trying to rub your nose in it. Relax.
- Stores use “Happy Holidays” because they want to sell stuff to everyone, no matter their beliefs. Don’t be the last one on your block to figure that out. Don’t listen to calls to boycott stores that use that phrase in their ads. Stores have learned to use Happy Holidays because everybody buys stuff, not because they hate Christmas. Just look around as you shop, you will see plenty of evidence that they have no plans to dump Christmas.
- Yes, there are examples of idiotic political correctness out there. So what? Just because someone calls a Christmas tree a “holiday tree” doesn’t mean he is evil. You are better off snickering than getting outraged if you come across an example of such things.
- Christmas is in no danger. This year I saw Christmas decorations up before Halloween, let alone before Thanksgiving. How anyone can believe that this ever-expanding holiday is facing extinction is beyond me. Texas passed a law this year making it a crime to forbid a person to say “Merry Christmas.” A crime. Talk about useless laws.
- No matter how you choose to celebrate Christmas there are other Christians out there who are sure you are doing it wrong. They probably are willing to accuse you of being “unbiblical” or even sinful. I know a guy who thinks saying Merry Christmas is straight from the pit of hell. If we can’t even agree among ourselves what to say and how to celebrate what justification do we have to accuse others of destroying Christmas?
- God is not in despair about Christmas. I have some great Christmas memories from living in countries where there were almost no Christians. The folks who cry about a war on Christmas would do well to count their blessings rather than wring their hands.
This, I hope, is just part one of a handy Christmas survival guide. What tips do you have to face this “war?”