It’s beginning to look and sound a lot like Christmas, and that’s a problem for some. What an amazing day we live in where everything from the American flag to the phrase Merry Christmas seems to offend so many. In the words of Clark Griswold, “Where’s the Tylenol?” There are many who say that the change from wishing our fellow Americans “Merry Christmas” to wishing them “Happy Holidays” is not a very significant development. Proponents of “Happy Holidays” argue it’s no big deal. The proponents of “Merry Christmas” they say are making a mountain out of a molehill. Look, I know that this is not about a coffee cup or simply a nativity scene being removed from a courthouse, it is much more! The call for replacing “Merry Christmas” with “Happy Holidays,” relentlessly pushing to replace “Christmas vacation” with “winter vacation” and “Christmas party” with “Holiday Party” is no big deal right? WRONG! It is a very big deal and I believe the “mountain” if you will is not about the word Christmas as much as it is about the word Christ!
A Jewish American by the name of Dennis Prager writes: “The opponents of ‘Merry Christmas’ and other uses of the word ‘Christmas’ know exactly what they’re doing. They’re disingenuous when they dismiss defenders of ‘Merry Christmas’ as fabricating some ‘War on Christmas.’ Of course it’s a war on Christmas, or, more precisely, a war on the religious nature of America and to create a thoroughly secular society. Most people do not realize that the left believes in secularism as fervently as religious Jews and Christians believe in the Bible. That’s why ‘Merry Christmas’ bothers secular activists. It’s a blatant reminder of just how religious America is and always has been. The agenda to thoroughly secularize American and European societies isn’t blatantly announced. Instead, they offer the inclusiveness argument: that ‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘Christmas party’ or ‘Christmas vacation’ is not ‘inclusive.’ This inclusiveness argument plays on Americans’ highly developed sense of decency. But the argument is preposterous: Who, exactly, is being excluded when one wishes someone ‘Merry Christmas?’ Non-Christians?” Prager continues… “I’m a non-Christian. I’m a Jew. Christmas is not a religious holy day for me. But I’m an American, and Christmas is a national holiday in my country. It is, therefore, my holiday though not my holy day as much as it is for my fellow Americans who are Christian. That’s why it’s not surprising that it was an American Jew, Irving Berlin, who wrote ‘White Christmas,’ one of America’s most popular Christmas songs. In fact, according to a Jewish musician writing in the New York Times, Almost all the most popular Christmas songs were written by Jews.” Apparently all these American Jews felt quite included by Christmas!
So again we are back to the why is there an issue, and the bottom line is found in the word Jesus. A Christian worldview is a true American worldview! Author Os Guinness describes it this way “A Christian worldview involves believers thinking about anything and everything in a manner that is consistently shaped, directed, and restrained by the truth of God’s Word and God’s Spirit. Such a Christian worldview encompasses core issues and answers such questions as Who am I? Where did I come from? What is the purpose of my life? Where am I going? Where did it come from? Is there a Creator, or are we the products of blind chance? Is there any grand theme to history and human life? If there is a Creator, what, if anything, does He expect of me?” You see, if Christmas is really about Christ then there must be a God. And if there really is a God then that changes everything… especially ones worldview!
As Aubrey Vaughan, in Essential Worship reminds us, “In our 21st century western society there has been a huge paradigm shift, a turning away from Judeo Christian God centered worldview, to a new atheism which desires a complete secularization of society with a non religious (irreligious) values and secular institutions. But the very fact they are turning away from God doesn’t mean they are turning to something neutral. In fact, to turn away from God means you have to be turning to something else, which by default becomes our 21st century idols” Interestingly last year a Pew Research poll indicated that three fourths of Americans felt that religion was losing its influence in America and six out of ten Americans think that is a bad thing. So yes, there is a war on Christmas and yes, it is a mountain of a big deal! If Jesus is a king, then all that was written of him is true. And if all that was written of him is true then every human heart must decide whether to accept him as savior or not and I believe that herein lies the real dilemma for most who oppose him and just maybe that’s why this phrase MERRY CHRISTMAS lands hard on a culture that has forgotten just why Jesus came in the first place. So in closing allow me say loud and clear… MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Tim Throckmorton is the former Executive Pastor of the Plymouth Heights Church of the Nazarene in Franklin Furnace Ohio and the Portsmouth First Church of the Nazarene in Franklin Furnace, Ohio. He is currently the Senior Pastor at Crossroads Church in Circleville, Ohio.