It seems like every year the Christmas controversy rages. You know which one I’m talking about. Many faithful grumble aloud about the old “Holiday-Christmas” word switcharoo. The Word on Fire blog even decried it as a “War on Christmas.” I don’t want to seem like I’m coming down on people who feel this way. Their frustration certainly is justified, and the injustice of making money on Christ’s birth while never wanting to mention His name is certainly silly, but I think we sometimes get our knickers in a bunch unnecessarily.
When I drive around my hometown and see all the light posts adorned with decorations, I see all of the lighted shops, and all the Christmas trees in the window I can’t help feeling like this is all a part of the Divine drama of life. To me the “war” on Christmas is actually the most dramatic representation of the need to evangelize we have in this world. Sure, the world might not recognize Christ in Christmas, but it certainly does palpably show a desire for Him. Think about it. Think of the millions of dollars municipalities in this country spend on their Christmas decorations. Think of all the man hours that go into cutting down trees, readying decorations, and climbing the ladder to put lights up. Think of all the hours shopping, cooking, cleaning, and preparing. Is this not a sign that people truly desire the Christ, even if they don’t quite follow Him just yet? Is this not a sign of the overwhelming desire for goodness, for peace, for love, and for joy? Do the emotions and notions of giving, love, and sacrifice espoused by this “secular” event not echo (albeit imperfectly) the Gospel? Should we really be grumbling against a world desperately desiring the birth of the Savior? Or should we be sure we are at the forefront of telling the story of Christmas?
There’s an interesting story about the making of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” (if there was ever a better representation of this constant commercialism struggle, I haven’t seen it). Originally CBS executives balked at the idea of Linus proclaiming the Gospel of Luke. However Charles Schulz stood firm and boldly exclaimed “If we don’t tell the true meaning of Christmas, who will?” Is this not our task? Is this not our call? Is this not the heart of evangelism? It is our job not to rail against the culture, but to love the culture and help lead it towards Christ. Let’s put away our grumbling and try to see this time through God’s eyes. At this moment our entire country is preparing for the birth of Christ, whether they know it or not. Let’s try, through love, charity, and God’s grace, to show them that the greatest gift this holiday season is Christ Himself. Imagine what the world could be if we try to encourage our brothers and sisters towards a true meaning of Christmas, instead of railing against their ignorance.