Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Happy Holy-days!

According to Sean Hannity and other conservative talk show hosts, conservatives are engaged in the "Battle for Christmas."

Christian Americans fight this battle every year. Most of us get a bit weary of the over-emphasis on acquisition and year-end parties. It seems the battle starts earlier every year. Here in Phoenix, some stores were putting up displays in late September or early October although holiday marketing didn't start in earnest until Hallowe'en candy went on sale.

My Rotary Club in Canton, Ohio, usually volunteered to help ring bells for the Salvation Army during the Christmas season. Although I've never been a fan of some SA theology, I do appreciate their emphasis on community service and meeting needs. So, I would stand outside K-Mart with some of my Rotarian friends--in the cold, I might add--to ring the bells. Then the news came down that Target would no longer permit volunteers to man the kettles outside their store. The next year it was K-Mart so we moved to another location.

As we rang the bells, we were increasingly encouraged to wish those who threw their contribution into the kettle "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas." I refused to do it! It wasn't that I was opposed to "HH," it was simply that I felt too many ignored the "reason for the season." You know what? Most of those passing by responded in kind.

Every year Christmas gets replaced with other things. Thank goodness for Dennis Hastert who put a stop to the foolishness of referring to the lighted tree at the capitol as the "Holiday Tree." It's back to being a Christmas tree! I still hear references to the tree at Rockefeller Plaza as a Christmas tree.

I know the battle for Christmas is underway because of our "national" political correctness craze, but that isn't all of it. It is true that the ACLU, our Public Schools, local governments, and others all avoid references to Christianity.

But ... let's put the blame where it belongs. The major cause of all this erosion of biblical values rests at the feet of Christians who succumb to all the PC "crap." (Can I say that in this blog? Well, its my blog so I guess I can say what I want!) Every year we hear about a few who stand up for Christmas and when they do they get results. For example, a Home Owners' Association in the Detroit suburbs were going to fine a family who placed a Nativity Scene in their yard. The home owners refused and there was such a swell of support that the HOA backed off. (See
LIFESTYLE04/511300434) So speak up!

Christians also let themselves get caught up in the whole holiday atmosphere. I think it is great for families to get together during this season. I'm not against giving gifts. Is it necessary, though, to go into debt to the extent that purchases made in 2005 may not be paid off until 2007 or later?

I enjoy the lights, the decorations, the gift giving, and everything that goes with it, but that's not what it is all about. It's about a baby born in an inconvenient place and placed in a manger--a baby who grew up to be God's promised Messiah! You know what? We really don't know when he was born! We don't know the year! We don't know the month! We don't know the day! In fact, all of that really isn't important. The importance fact is that he was born, lived, died, was buried, and was resurrected and now lives to intercede for us.

The important thing is that regardless of how our culture goes, YOU keep Christ in YOUR Christmas! That will go a long way in winning the "battle for Christmas."