Christmas in America

A time of joy and reflection on the greatest gift of all

By Jim Allen

Christmas is here again. The traditional dashing about is in full swing. While the Christmas lights and decorations go up, the nativity scenes across American are coming down.

An attorney and legal counsel for a church coalition in California said, "The atheists won on this one, and that win will result in the ongoing erosion of the First Amendment." [1] Recently, a group of churches hired an attorney to persuade a federal judge in Los Angeles to reverse the ruling that makes it unlawful to display Nativity scenes. [2] The federal judge ruled the city of Santa Monica may ban seasonal displays in parks and other public places, including prominent Nativity scenes that have been put up every holiday season for years. An Atheist, who is behind the idea of ridding the world of religion, argued religion is "innately troublesome and does not belong in public parks." Apparently, the judge agreed and the coalition of churches lost its appeal.

Aside from the worldly and commercial aspects, Christmas has always occupied a special place in the hearts of many Americans. As a child, I treasured the Christmas story, the wonder of angels singing, and the majesty of three kings visiting the Christ child in a manger (Luke 2:7). The candlelight service on Christmas Eve with hymns of O Holy Night and Hark! the Herald Angels Sing are enduring memories for many across America. The exchanging of gifts was always a delight and a solemn reminder of the greatest gift of all (Acts 2:38; 8:20; Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8).

The move to abolish the Christmas season started with an idea. Ideas have consequences. Bad ideas, left unchecked, can turn into big ideas with big consequences. Legal rulings to appease a few at the expense of most are like an underwater creature coming up from beneath the sea. You cannot see the creature until it surfaces. Greek mythology students know this creature as the Hydra, having the likeness of a hideous monster with multiple heads. The multiple heads on this diabolical, dragon-like creature are snapping and hissing at the Christmas spirit while lobbying to abolish the practice of the traditional Christmas holiday—and perhaps one day the Christian himself.

While the idea for ending Christmas is not new, it is unimaginable for most. Ideas that destroy usually begin small, slowly eroding away at mighty things, like rust dissolving iron over time. The Christmas season for believers is special, endearing, and traditional. The season is not so much about the gifts we exchange nor the decorations and merriment of family and friends, although that is an essential part of it. The season is about Jesus, the Savior, who is the greatest gift of all. We can celebrate and give thanks because we live in a time and place like America, a lighthouse of hope to the world whose light is now flickering.

Every concession made to this Hydra-like idea to abolish Christmas is nourishment to deepen its appetite and fortify its evil resolve. Can you smell the stench of its hatred, driven by dark, foreboding, and intolerance of anyone sharing messages of hope, love, and goodwill (Luke 2:12-14)? Our minds do not always comprehend why things are as they are in a place like America. Our souls were not made to grapple with such darkness, dread, and confusion. Peace on earth and goodwill toward men is a message of love thy neighbor. Even now, more than ninety-percent of Americans plan to celebrate the Christmas season in one form or another. The spirit of Christmas is alive and well despite the Hydra.

This creature from the deep sea of godlessness will continue to push its "freedom from religion" agenda. To do less would mean giving into biblical truth that condemns them as loveless beings overflowing with vile passions (John 7:7; John 14:6). These who serve the creature will continue to hate our Lord and Savior, cringe at the utterance of Merry Christmas, and view our affection for Christ as delusional and unfitting for their "new-age ideology". But no matter!

We can still celebrate the season regardless of our circumstances (Romans 8:28). We can still sing carols and hymns though godless souls scheme against us (2 Chronicles 20:22). We have no apology to give and certainly no obligation to roll over like lapdogs to appease their ideology of godlessness. Through it all, we learn to love God and love people, forgiving those who hate us (Luke 23:34).

Christmas for believers can still be a time of dashing about in merriment and wishing everyone, including those who deride us, a very "Merry Christmas!" (Luke 6:35)

[1] Paraphrased – – November 20, 2012 – Judge Sides with Atheist
[2] Paraphrased – – November 20, 2012 – Judge Sides with Atheist

Image Credit: Dan Buczynski; "Nativity at the Four Corners"; Creative Commons

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Image Used With Permission, Rev. Dr. Michael R. Rothaar – Gloria Dei Lutheran Church | Published 11-26-12

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