Editor's Note: Printed with permission by the author, Alan Smith, Pastor
I'm sure you've heard a lot of talk about the fact that some retailers seem to be getting away from saying "Merry Christmas!" and instead are substituting phrases like "Season's Greetings!" or "Happy Holidays!" in their decorations and their advertisements. Someone has even written this politically correct Christmas greeting:
"Best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral, winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most joyous traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, but with respect for the religious persuasion of others who choose to practice their own religion as well as those who choose not to practice a religion at all."
Many Christians are outraged at this shift and view this as one more attempt to remove all references to Christ from our culture. In response, a group has been organized called the "Committee to Save Merry Christmas". Here are some of their thoughts:
"This deliberate and intentional substitution of 'Merry Christmas" with un-celebratory phrases are thoughtless, condescending and hurtful. Should you -- the purchasing public -- who honors the American tradition and culture of Christmas, continue to purchase Christmas gifts from these stores when they deliberately and intentionally refuse to acknowledge Christmas? Our committee believes you should not! We, instead, encourage you to shop where the values and meaning of Christmas are cherished."
I have some concerns. On the one hand, I am concerned about attempts (sometimes blatant attempts) to remove all references to God or Christianity from our society. But, on the other hand, I have to remember that God did not give Sears (or any other store) the responsibility of telling people about Christ. He did not give our American government that responsibility. He gave it to those of us who are Christians.
I think it's ironic that a lot of Christians are upset that Target doesn't greet them with "Merry Christmas!" when they walk through the door, but they will make no attempt to talk about Christ in their own lives. We prefer to say "It's a beautiful day!" instead of "What a beautiful day God has given us!" We prefer to say, "I've been lucky or fortunate" instead of saying "God has blessed me." We would never dream of saying "Christ is the only way of salvation." for fear of being labeled a fanatic. But then we'll get upset at a store which has a banner proclaiming "Happy Holidays" and refuse to do business with them.
Folks, let put the responsibility where it belongs. God has given those of us who are Christians the task of sharing Christ with a world that doesn't know him. God "has given us the ministry of reconciliation...and has committed to us the word of reconciliation." (2 Cor. 5:18-19). If we're going to get upset, let's start getting upset about the fact that WE'VE not been doing that like we should!
Have a great day (oh, and have a Merry Christmas)!
Helen Street Church of Christ
Fayetteville, North Carolina
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