Or, Why the Culture Wars are stupid.
Okay, here's the deal about my War on Christmas. As many of you realize, there's a lot of hype this time of year about there being a "liberal" war on Christmas. There are a lot of Christians and nominal Christians in our culture that insist left-wingers are trying to secularize this commemoration of the Incarnation. They also believe that Christians need to "take a stand" and "fight for their rights" - which apparently includes being wished a "merry Christmas" by Wal-Mart.
That is asinine. Let me tell you why.
1. I don't think it's possible to really "secularize" Christmas. Whether or not Walmart or Target the White House or any other major retailer or public entity wants to acknowledge that I celebrate the Christian Feast Day is of no concern to me at all. It is not possible for such entities to either enhance or degrade one's commemoration of the Feast of the Incarnation. If one imagines that it is, one has a Big Problem.Again, for similar thinking, see also
2. It ought to be a bigger concern to Christians that other Christians are commemorating the Feast of the Incarnation (a.k.a. "Christ's Mass," or "Christmas") by engaging in a great orgy of consumerism, buying things for one another that they often do not really need. Let's exchange gifts, but perhaps read the Book of Amos, while we're at it?
3. Most people in the United States who aren't active Christians (and some who are) do and will continue to celebrate Christmas by that name and in this way, but will not make any explicitly religious observances along with it. Might our energies be better spent in encouraging people to learn about Christmas and what it means in the Christian faith rather than insisting that atheists wish us and everybody else a "Merry Christmas" rather than a mild and generically friendly "happy holidays"? At least the people saying "happy holidays" are being friendly. What kind of person gets angry in response to that? I'm not sure we're really loving people well when we can be the kind of people who get mad at them for giving us what we consider to be an inappropriate "hello." Get a grip, folks.
That's why I wrote, "don't wish me a merry Christmas, but rather a blessed Feast of the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ." It's the same thing, and therefore a ridiculous statement - just like the insistence that someone wish me a Merry Christmas rather than Happy Holidays. It's satire.
4. The only legitimate way for Christians to "take a stand" in any culture is to love and worship the Trinitarian God, and to love, pray for, and even die for their enemies. Even if there's some great liberal plot to steal Christmas, the only way that the Gospel and Christian history honor is to - you guessed it - love and pray for our enemies while praising our God. Never, never, never, to return anger, hatred, or indifference in kind.
5. It is entirely contradictory to the Gospel for Christians to be talking about their "rights," and what the culture at large "owes" them. In accord with a Christian worldview, we pray and sing, "All things come of thee, O Lord," - all good things are gifts of our God, and any evil that befalls us serves as a test. This is a mysterious thing, but when do we endure trials (if you are really so short-sighted as to compare being wished "happy holidays" with the trials of martyrs), the appropriate question is to ask, "what kind of person does the Lord seek to make me in the midst of this?" If "secularists" are truly attacking us, we are commanded to pray, not to return evil for evil. Once again, it is the way of the Gospel to treat enemies as if they were not enemies.
6. There is no sense in connecting corporate policy decisions about whether to wish the American public "happy holidays" or "merry Christmas" with the wider concerns of the Kingdom of God, which prefers to shun consumerism, heal broken human lives, and engage in the transformation and recreation of God's world. No sense whatsoever.
Joshua Hearne: War on Christmas
Dr. Platypus: 9.5 Curmudgeonly Christmas Theses
Theological Intentions: My Two Cents on the "War on Christmas"