It’s that time of year, again, when many of us gird our loins to do battle with the dark forces of carefully secular “Happy Holiday” greetings and decorated “holiday” trees. We are preparing for the struggle to hold up the banner for the real meaning of Christmas over the commercial and cultural extravaganza that is our modern-day Holiday Season.
This year I’ve decided to become a conscientious objector and opt out of the fray.
Never fear, I haven’t switched sides or lost my faith, I’ve simply realized that I worship Christ, not Christmas.
Christmas, as a holy day, was established by the church for believers to celebrate together the birth of Christ, God with us, our savior and our Lord. If non-believers wish to celebrate with us, that’s fine, even if they are only celebrating the celebration.
A pagan celebration of Winter Solstice, a Santa Claus parade or the clamor for shoppers to buy and spend, does not take anything away from my God or my faith. Even if it could be made the law of the land tomorrow that only religious references to the Christmas celebration were allowed, not one person could be forced to acknowledge the deity of Christ in his or her life.
This morning there was an account in the news of a man who vandalized dozens of churches in South Carolina because he was angry at God. While this confused man’s actions undoubtedly failed to please God, they did him no harm. God does not reside in the material fabric of any church building. This man was missing his target.
The same can be said of us when we do battle with non-believers over the secular aspects of the Christmas celebration.
While we are urged to do spiritual battle to defend our faith, our actions toward others…even our perceived enemies…are meant to be clothed in love.
So, as much as I personally abhor the materialization and even sexualization of Christmas celebrations, I will try to remember this is a time of peace and goodwill.
I will respond cheerfully to “Happy Holiday” greetings and Santa’s Ho, ho, ho!, while in my heart and my home we will be remembering how God came as a man to reconcile sinners to himself.
And when Easter comes…that greatest celebration in the Christian calendar and the fulfillment of Christmas’s promise…I may color eggs and smile fondly on the Easter Bunny without rancor because neither life, nor death, nor materialistic cultural celebrations can separate me from the love of God and my faith in his son.