The Evangelical Outpost has a great article on the yearly tradition in America…
For almost half my life I’ve spent nearly every holiday season far
from home. But the hardships of being away from friends and family have
taught me to appreciate the continuity of traditions that are shared
across America. I learned to appreciate Christmas lights hung hastily
along roof ledges; grade school pageants; watching It’s a Wonderful Life on TV; the nativity scene on the courthouse lawn; the ACLU filing to have it taken down.
While this last tradition is the newest, it’s already firmly
established across the nation. Indeed, my generation has never heard a
“Season’s Greetings” that wasn’t followed by a season of protest. Yet
every year I’m baffled by the animosity toward Christmas symbolism. The
same secularists who think that playing Grand Theft Auto:Vice City
while listening to gansta rap has no affect on children act as if
hearing “Merry Christmas” will turn little Johnny into a Pat Robertson
As hard as I try, I can’t comprehend what could causes such a
reaction. What is it about seeing a plastic baby Jesus laying in a
manger on the public square that inspires such passionate outrage? Are
they afraid it will lead to intolerance, religious bigotry, or–even
Almost as peculiar is the counter-reaction of my fellow Christians.
Tales of religious persecution told by returning missionaries lead to
earnest prayers and the passing of the offering plate for a “religious
freedom” fund. But an announcement by a senior deacon that the ACLU has
caused the cancellation of the Christmas pageant will have the senior
ladies auxiliary ready to march on Washington.
Naturally, we have an obligation to defend important cultural
traditions. But could we be taking it too seriously? We act as if the
struggle over holiday symbols will inevitably lead to intolerance of
religion (First they came for the magi, and I did not speak out…)
or that the slightest retreat will lead to the cancellation of
Christmas. While we must always be on guard to protect our most
cherished freedoms, we could use a little more discernment in choosing
our battles. We must prayerfully choose both ours campaigns and the
rhetoric we employ. (The way we invoke the “slippery slope” you’d think
we evangelicals lived on the north face of Everest.) After all, not
everything worth fighting for is necessarily worth the fight.
Perhaps we should let the forces of secularism have this one, let them win this skirmish. After all, wasn’t it Jesus who said, “…and if any one would sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as well.”
When the ACLU sues to remove the Christmas tree let’s give them the
nativity scene as well. When the secularists fight to stop the
Christmas pageant let’s let them have the caroling too. Let’s let them
have X-mas. Because maybe then we can finally show them Christ.