Wednesday, December 6, 2006

The Christmas Wars


In yesterday's local paper my eye caught an op-ed piece by Kathryn Jean Lopez. It was entitled "For Christ's sake - literally," which you can read at townhall.com. The article begins with a straight-forward confession of her faith, as one who celebrates "the birth of Jesus Crhist, the son of God, my Savior." But then she adds shortly thereafter: "And I sure as heck don't want to have a political debate over it," meaning her desire to actually celebrate this holiday for what it is.

What she is referring to, which some of you are no doubt familiar with, is the annual war on Christmas. John Gibson of the Fox News Channel even wrote a book entitled: "War on Christmas: How the Liberal Plot to Ban the Sacred Christian Holiday Is Worse Than You Thought." I am fortunate, I suppose, because I live in a rather small town here in northern Wisconsin. This past Sunday evening I attended a community choir and band Christmas concert and there was no sensitivity to excluding anything Christian. This coming Sunday I will attend the high school's choir concert (which my wife is accompanying), and I fully expect to hear Christian carols. Now, admittedly my little town (under 9,000) doesn't have much of a diverse community. I know that there is a Muslim family, and maybe someone from the Jewish community. But no Mosques or Synaogues can be found up here. Perhaps that's part of it. But I feel for those who must endure the rediculous assault on this holiday, trying to remove its very character - and even, in some cases, its name (Happy Holidays vs. Merry Christmas). Lopez reviews from Gibson's book some of the more atrocious assaults, even telling of a principal who banned all green and red paper until after the first of the year. And why should that offend our pluralistic society? I'm lost.

Lopez also talks about an incident in Chicago regarding their annual Christkindlmarket Christmas Festival. The issue at hand started when clips from the upcoming movie "The Nativity" were to be shown. I'm sure you can scan the net and find articles talking more about this incident. Suffice it to say, it's one more example of how extreme the war is becoming.

But here is a followup thought on a more theological note: Shouldn't we, who live in the latter days, expect such attacks and such 'wars'? Have we not been told that the world will rebel against God and against His Anointed? (see Psalm 2). This may at some level be a civil rights issue, and I am all for removing in our pluralistic society this rediculous politically correct exercise in being all things to all people. Yet as I watch the drama part of me smiles. While they may remove all symbols and all reminders of Christ from the public square, they shall never remove the Christ. Even Herod was unsuccessful on that one.

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