Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It's Called Christmas For a Reason

This year within the rotunda of the Capitol building of Illinois stand four monuments that were erected for the Christmas celebration.  Surrounding the Christmas tree are a crèche, or manger scene, a Jewish menorah, a statement from atheists expressing all religion is a myth, and one from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) that proclaims what they see as their judicial responsibilities to protect Americans, including citing First Amendment rights.  However, I doubt they are, or will be any time soon, defending Christianity and the right to worship our God.  Rather, they have chosen not to challenge the upheld 1989 decision by Chief Judge James B. Parson of the Federal District Court in Chicago.  His decision stated that it is unconstitutional to discriminate against religious expression because it falls under the First Amendment right to free speech.  I think the ACLU sees it as a battle they cannot win - at least at this moment in time.

Last year, Washington State had their own battle when their governor, Christine Gregoire, welcomed with open arms the local atheist organization's doctrine of no faith to be displayed next to the crèche, Christmas tree and menorah.  Although she stood her ground and made a weak attempt to defend it, it outraged many of Washington’s citizens.  To make matters worse for her, Bill O’Reilly publicly aired on his FoxNews show her indiscretion to millions of viewers who then flooded the Capitol building with so many calls they stopped answering the phone.

The right to freedom of speech and expression of religion is a privilege afforded to all Americans, regardless of their political or religious affiliation.  The politicians who have to make these choices are under the strictures of our constitution and First Amendment rights.  They must always adhere to the legal rights of all citizens.  We may not like what is being said, but we must all respect others right to say it.  But the problem is bigger than that of allowing others of different beliefs to speak freely.  When it becomes an issue of treading heavily upon the rights of those who oppose your way of thinking and your beliefs, and an attempt is made to silence you and remove all aspects you hold dear, I believe that is the time to strongly object and speak out.

Although Christmas has been made a secular “holiday”, Christians view it in a completely different way.  It is the day chosen to be set aside each year to celebrate the birth of all mankind’s Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Christians view it as a day to be revered and honored because it is the day on which God Almighty chose to come to us as a man and redeem the lost.  But because there are those whose agenda it is to diminish and destroy Christmas and to deny its vital importance to those who believe in its significance, the results are disturbing in the least and destructive at best.  Rather than Christmas being a time of rejoicing and worshiping God, it has become a battlefront and the chaos that ensues draws attention away from its true meaning.

Our God is not to be mocked.  He is a jealous God and an all-consuming fire for those who would minimize and ridicule Him (Deut 4:24).  Man’s attempt to appease everyone has done nothing more than fuel the fire of God’s wrath.  Instead of standing up for Him, our politicians and judges have decided to allow the secular crowd to overrule Him by displaying their idols and their forms of religion next to Him.  When I hear politicians try to justify their actions by proclaiming their “religious” affiliation, I am nauseated.  Keeping their cushy jobs and the power, wealth and prosperity they afford has become more important than fearlessly defending Him as the One and True God.  They will one day discover they have run out of excuses and defense, and their shame will be their condemnation.

God Almighty’s voice cries out loudly through the ages that He is the Sovereign Lord:

“To whom will you compare Me or count Me equal?  To whom will you liken Me that we may be compared?…I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me.” (Is 46:5, 9)

“For My own sake, for My own sake, I do this.  How can I let Myself be defamed?  I will not yield My glory to another.” (Is 48:11)
 A crèche, menorahs, Christmas trees and all other objects that symbolize the holiday are nothing more than that - mere objects.  We would get along just fine without them adorning our homes, yards, or Capitol buildings.  Christmas resides in the hearts of all Christians who love their Lord, their King, their Savior Jesus Christ, and if they were permanently removed as a part of our celebration, little harm would be done.  But by allowing unbelievers to seize Christmas and make it into something it is not by calling it a lie, we are allowing them to “defame” Him.  By allowing the placing of their secular, pagan, or atheistic symbols alongside Him is asking Him to “yield” to them and perpetuating genuine lies that do nothing to serve Him.

There is a reason it is called CHRISTmas.  It is not about freedom of speech.  It is not about the rights of others to express their own belief system.  It is not Kwanzaa, “festivus”, or any other ill-contrived notion or holiday.  It is about the birth of Jesus Christ and the beginning of His journey to the cross where He would make atonement for all mankind.  At the expense of suffering derision and scorn, let us all make sure we loudly proclaim the message of truth and salvation behind it and refuse to allow it to be denigrated to a mere holiday.  Let us put Christ back in Christmas.

Merry CHRISTmas, everyone!


StrongNHim said...

I learned at Advent the other day that Christmas literally means Christ mas or Christ Worhsip. Christmas is a day to worship Christ. Literally.

Thank you for your post. I agree they are just objects.

V. Chandler said...

Great post, and as an evangelical Christian studying for the ministry I agree 100%!