With all the talk of Starbuck’s Red Cup and the Christmas war thatseems to have started earlier and earlier each year, it got me thinking. When people fume at Starbucks for changing their cups, or harangue Walmart greeters for saying Happy Holidays, I wonder what is behind all of this. Why is it so important that local governments acknowledge Christmas by having a Nativity Scene at the public square? Why does it ruin our Christmas if Christmas isn’t acknowledged by everyone we meet or stores we shop at during December?
I started to think of the extreme. What would happen if it was against the law for any non-religious person, company or government to use the word Christmas or be associated with this major Christian Holiday. What would it change?
The truth is it would change nothing. I would still be allowed to go to Church, worship God and celebrate the birth of his Son. I could still sing Christmas Carols in my car or go to Christmas parties with my friends. I could still wrap gifts and place the under my Christmas Tree in my house for my kids. At the heart of it, nothing would change.
If we learned anything from the Grinch, Christmas cannot be stolen because at the heart of Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Christ’s Son. I don’t care where I am, what is happening in the world, or who is in charge of it all, that is my plan for Christmas. I plan to give thanks to God for sending his Son to this earth for my and all of humanity’s sake. I do not need a Fortune 500 Company, my local government or anyone else to validate that experience for me.
This is what I think is at the heart of people being so upset when someone says Happy Holidays or removes the Christmas Tree from the Santa display at the mall. There is this thought running through many Christian’s minds that the world has to validate our beliefs. Our world should acknowledge that we are Christian and then cater to our belief system. If not then we are being persecuted for our faith.
If this is the case then we are looking for validation in the wrong place. Paul in his letter to the Galatians writes, “Am I trying to win over human beings or God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I wouldn’t be Christ’s slave. Brothers and sisters, I want you to know that the gospel I preached isn’t human in origin. I didn’t receive it or learn it from a human. It came through a revelation from Jesus Christ.” (Galatians 1:10-12). Paul is correct. Who are we looking to to tell us that our faith is real…the world or God.
In my humble and personal opinion (which is why I have a blog in the first place) I couldn’t care less what design is on a Starbucks cup or the design used by the mall for Santa’s photoshoot. Nor will decisions made by people who are only interested in how I am spending my “baby Jesus money” make a difference to my Christmas.
If Starbucks was truly interested in attracting the Christian audience during this time of year, then they should note we are in ordinary time and their cups should be green. Then starting Nov. 29th they should be blue or purple to match the liturgical color for Advent. THEN from Dec. 25 – Jan 4th they should be white or gold for the SEASON OF CHRISTMAS (it is more than a day and it doesn’t start until Dec. 25!) Then on Epiphany, Jan. 6th, go back to the green cups. Then they will be following the true colors of the true Christian seasons.
However many Christians in America could care less about that too, as much as Starbucks. The truth is they want all American companies and all of America for that matter to bow down to their beliefs. Through social media bashing, meme tweets, and complaining to friends and their elected officials, they want to put Christ back in Christmas because they feel Christ isn’t in Christmas anymore.
Christmas is not a holiday created by the USA. It is recognized by our nation as a National Holiday. Why are we not simply thrilled that out of all the religions practiced in this country, where the freedom of religion was one of the founding principals, one of our Holy Christian Days is observed. That is amazing. We don’t do this for Jewish or Islamic or Hindu or Buddhist holy days. Should this be enough?
Instead of filling the air with ways the world diminishes Christmas because towns don’t have Trees or Nativities scenes any more, why don’t let the Church handle Christmas. Instead of complaining about people saying Happy Holidays, go be a sheep in your Church’s nativity scene or go serve food to the homeless on Christmas morning. Instead of spending thousands on presents, spend hundreds and give away hundreds to those in need around the world. Instead of criticizing the world around us, why not be the love of God, that shows up in the form of a baby in the manger for that world.
As we approach Christ the King Sunday, and dive into the season of Advent, may your heart be transformed to see that the only war on Christmas happens inside of us. The war that wages between making Christmas about Christ and ourselves. It is there our beliefs will truly be validated by the One we worship.