23 December 2008

"Happy Holidays": A Sign of The Coming Anti-Christian Apocalypse?

Some Christians believe that there has been a war on Christmas, some kind of systematic attack on the religious aspect of December 25 which seeks to accomplish several objectives:
  • Replace "Merry Christmas" with "Happy Holidays" at retail stores
  • Remove or ban nativity scenes on government property
  • Replace traditional, Christian Christmas carols with songs like "Jingle Bells"
  • Emphasize Santa and de-emphasize Jesus
While the above items have indeed happened in many places, does this constitute some kind of organized, premeditated attack on Jesus and his followers? Do we need to take Christmas back from the evil hands of the far left?

I don't know if it's an organized thing or not, probably not. Even if it were, why do Christians care so much about non-Christian people doing non-Christian things to a tradition about which they neither know much nor care much? I have some random thoughts to help us Christians put this whole "war on Christmas" thing in perspective:
  • This is primarily a North American thing; few people, including Christians, outside the US care about this at all.
  • The word "holiday" means "holy day." It's still religious!
  • Why should Christians get all the attention, anyway? Christmas, technically speaking, is only on December 25; therefore, if we insist that people say "Merry Christmas" at Wal-Mart, shouldn't they only have to do it on the day itself (and Wal-Mart is closed!)? We are being greedy to insist that people greet us the way we want them to on days that aren't even our holiday.
  • There are four major holidays in December, only one of which is Christian. Dec. 9th is Eid al-Adha, a Muslim holiday. December 21-29 is Hanukkah, a Jewish holiday. December 25th is, of course, Christmas. And December 26-January 1 is Kwanzaa, a non-religious African-American holiday. If we really are a nation whose core value is freedom (even freedom to practice any [or no] religion), shouldn't we say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas" alone?
  • "Xmas" is not an attempt to avoid saying "Christmas." The X is the Greek letter Chi, which is the first letter in the Greek form of "Christ." It's shorthand, not desecration.
  • Americans need to put their perceived persecution in perspective. Thousands of Indian Christians in Orissa will be celebrating Christmas hiding in forests and jungles because their homes and churches have been burned and destroyed by Hindu radicals. Many of them will celebrate Christmas mourning the loss of family or friends killed in these attacks. And we think that the cashier at Target saying "Happy Holidays" is worth even caring about? "Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering" (Hebrews 13:3).
  • Who cares if people in our society are trying to take Christ out of Christmas? It's not their job to teach the meaning of Christmas to your kids; it's your job, and it's the church's job.
  • The way to teach the meaning of Christmas it not to declare war on the war on Christmas. We must give a reason for the hope that we have, but we must do it "with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously about your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of your slander" (1 Peter 3:15-16). Has our behavior in reaction to this "war" been good?
Let Christians be the guardians of Christmas, especially the part about peace on earth.

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