“Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: ‘Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!’” Luke 2:10-14 (NKJV)
It seems we have a new and sinister Christmas tradition. Just as surely as there will be a Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade to officially herald the Christmas season and just as certain as reruns of “Charlie Brown’s Christmas” and “It’s A Wonderful Life,” we have now come to expect the War on Christmas.
Every year we are inundated by stories of school children who can no longer use the word “Christmas” nor sing traditional carrols unless they change the words to something “non-offensive.” We are assaulted with lists of stores that are “Christmas friendly,” and those that are not. We are reminded daily in our email, on radio and television and even from our pulpits of the heritage that is progressively being stolen from us and our country.
I would like to offer a little different perspective, for your Holy Days consideration. How can you have a war against something that is settled? When Jesus showed up in that manger nearly 2,000 years ago, He set in motion something that can never be stopped or stolen. When He preached, healed and delivered, He illustrated His power over everything the enemy might bring against God’s people. When He died on the Cross, He forever defeated sin in the lives of those who receive Him. And when He rose from the grave, He eternally removed the sting of death and replaced it with hope for life eternal.
Just like the Angels of old, our message is one of hope, peace and goodwill toward men. When we say Merry Christmas, we are speaking a blessing into the lives of the ones we say it to with full knowledge that our God has the power to back it up. There is no need for us to get offended when someone doesn’t say it to us, because if we are truly God’s children we are already blessed directly by Him and don’t need anyone else to do it. In reality, if they don’t know God, they have no way of granting us eternal blessing. So what should bother me more, the fact that they didn’t say it, or the fact that they are still separated from God? As for me, I choose the later. When they say, “Happy Holidays” or some other neutral expression, I am going to return a smile and a “Merry Christmas!” Then, I’m going to pray that God will use me or someone else to show them why we all have reason to celebrate.
Father God, as we reflect this Christmas, we thank You so much for the greatest gift ever given to man – Your Son. We know that it is only by Your wonderful grace that we have the right to say, “Merry Christmas.” We also realize that since we did not earn that right, we have no need to defend it – we simply enjoy it and praise You for granting it to us! Bless ALL of our friends and family this Christmas. Lead us into a pure and right understanding of what it means to have a Merry Christmas. Amen!