Friday, December 16, 2011

The Christmas Wars

I tried last holiday season to write a thought or two about the supposed "war on Christmas" going on in the US. Yes, I think it's a supposed war.

But this year, Jim Wallis makes the case much better than me. You can read his entire blog about this here, but I wanted to share a few quotes and thoughts from his post.

Making sure that shopping malls and stores greet their customers with “Merry
Christmas” is entirely irrelevant to the meaning of the Incarnation. In reality
it is the consumer frenzy of Christmas shopping that is the real affront and
threat to the season.

Last year, Americans spent $450 billion on
Christmas. Clean water for the whole world, including every poor person on the
planet, would cost about $20 billion. Let’s just call that what it is: A
material blasphemy of the Christmas season.

Yes, yes, and yes! We cannot take a symbol, whether that's a tree, a gift, a slogan, a greeting, whatever, and then compare it somehow to being "the meaning of the season." As Wallis goes on to say, is Jesus humbled when he walks into a store and sees how the "merry Christmas" sign in the window points people to him? Who has ever come to Christ from a "merry Christmas" sign? From a public nativity?

Holiday means holy that really that bad?

Why do we spend so much time on the symbols of Christmas, and neglect imitating the incarnational presence of Jesus in our world? I have rarely (I don't remember ever) trying to speak on behalf of Jesus in this blog, but can I say that I don't think he cares one bit about whether my Best Buy has "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays" in the window?

The true reality is that Jesus came to earth and lived among a poor and oppressed people, in order to redeem their lives to the fullness God originally intended. As Wallis says, to restore right relationship between God and between each other. Let's focus some energy on that goal this Christmas. Let's really seek to have "peace on earth and goodwill among men."

I hope you'll click the link and read Wallis' post. And you'll go to and make a meaningful gift this Christmas. Or holiday season.

I'm okay with either one.

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