Thursday, December 08, 2011

Fighting the wrong War Against the War on Christmas

I'm having a hard time with Christmas this year.

It sort of has to do with the 'War on Christmas' that goes on every year, but not directly.  I'm not so much tired of the 'War on Christmas' as I am tired of the 'War Against the War on Christmas'.

I hear from my Christian friends that we need to remember 'the reason for the season' and 'the true meaning of Christmas'.  We need to push back against the forces of evil and worldly people that want to kick 'Christ' out of Christmas. 

I've actually heard Christian friends say things like, "No one is gonna tell me not to say 'Merry Christmas'.  I don't care what they think, I'm gonna stick up for Christ!" 

Or, "Too bad if 'Merry Christmas' offends some people. Their 'Happy Holidays' offends me."

Or even "If we don't fight for 'Christ' in Christmas, then what's next?"

And yet, even with all the 'push back for Christ' we tend to talk about every Christmas season, everywhere I look I see advertisements for the 'Holidays'.  'Happy Holidays' is the phrase of the day.  The phrase 'Merry Christmas' actually seems to stick on our tongues sometimes as it tries to slip past our lips. Many people in the popular culture actually find the phrase abrasive as it scrapes their ears and for some reason turns their stomachs.  

No longer is the Christmas season called 'the Christmas Season' in our popular media, or anywhere in the general American public scene.  

We've lost the battle for now.  The War is not over, certainly, but the battle has been engaged and The Church has suffered humiliating loss, at our own hands, no less.

The sad part is, it's not for lack of authority or ammunition that the battle has been lost.  I think The Church has snatched defeat from the jaws of victory because of how we've fought the fight.  

Namely...... The Church shouldn't be fighting this battle at all.  

The Church is ill-equipped to fight battles in the world's realm, because that's not where The Church's power and authority lies. Ephesians 6:11-13 says:

Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. (emphasis added)

The Church is ill-equipped to be Guardians of Public Morality when our own morality if often suspect and questionable. Jesus said in Luke 6:42:

How can you think of saying, ‘Friend, let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.   

The Church is ill-equipped to demand the world respect Christ during the Christmas season when most Church members don't respect Christ in their own lives the rest of year. Revelation 3:5-17 says of the church at Laodecia, which was not all that different from many American churches today:

I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other!  But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.

How can the world respect the Christ in Christmas if Christ's church has a hard time doing it themselves?

Friends, brothers and sisters in the family of God - put down the sword of this world and your attempts to coerce others to respect the Christ in Christmas.  No law, no amount of pressure, no amount of advertisement or shame or ridicule or arguing will convince anyone to 'put Christ back in Christmas'.

Remember, we serve the God of the Universe.  The Creator.  He Who Is Above All Things.  The Great I Am.  The Alpha and the Omega.  He Who Is the Beginning and the End.  Of All Things.

We say we follow Jesus.  He who showed us that the God of the Universe is pure love.  He who  laid down all his rights to the Godly nature.  He who became the least among us.  He who served all.  He who loved all.  He who gave all.

Do we follow Jesus as he told us to follow him? Serving like he did? Laying aside his rights to demand respect as he did? Loving even sinners as he did?

The only way The Church can win The War Against the War on Christmas is not to fight.

The only way to win is to serve those who fight The War on Christmas. Minister to them.  Love them.  Bless them.

The only way to put Christ back into Christmas is to put Christ into our lives the entire rest of the year. Every day.  Following Christ with all our hearts.  Letting him be the Lord of every part of our lives.

The only way for people to see that Jesus could be real in their lives, is to prove to people by how we live that Jesus is real in our lives.  It's that simple.  It's that direct.

And that's the only way.   

Christ won the war by dying.  God raised him back to life, and now he lives forever victorious over death.  The Real War is already over.  The enemy's gun has no bullets.  Christ has taken them all away.

Church: we should be following that Jesus.

Let the world see That Jesus in all of our Churches, and Christ will find his way back into Christmas, I guarantee.