Bemoaning the bemoaning of the secularization of Christmas.

It’s that wonderful time of the year again–the Christmas season. But unfortunately, along with the fresh snow, smell of baked goods, time spent with family and friends, and joyous holiday memories in the making, this time of the year also comes with an unavoidable annoyance. No, not fruitcake. I’m referring to all the keep Christ in Christmas campaigns with their bumper stickers and yard signs, and it’s Ok to wish me a Merry Christmas car magnets and buttons.

Do I have a problem with Christ being remembered as the reason Christians celebrate Christmas? Absolutely not. Am I happy with the removal of Christ from the very holiday that’s supposed to be celebrating His birth? No way. Do I think the secularization of Christmas is a positive trend? Certainly not. Am I pleased with the mass consumerism that Christmas has become? Never. Is this post about whether or not Christians should even celebrate Christmas? Nope.

This post is about my issue with the yearly keep Christ in Christmas campaigns accompanied with all their recommended boycotts of stores that choose “Happy Holidays” over “Merry Christmas.” My issue with these campaigns, however, is not in the substance of their arguments (stopping the expunging of Jesus Christ from Christmas), but my issue is in their misapplied efforts to correct what they deem as a sin almost equivalent to Judas’ betrayal of Christ. These folks with the best of intentions have grossly misdiagnosed the problem: It’s not them (the world), it’s us (the church).

Before I continue I want to acknowledge that it’s true, Christmas’ origins aren’t even Christian and most of the Christmas traditions we cherish today (Christmas trees, candy canes, tinsel, bulbs, stockings, mistletoe, yule logs, eggnog, etc.) cannot be supported by Scripture. Although I understand that there are many who want to argue against Christmas on those points, this is not what this post is about. The basis of this post can be summed up by these two points:

1. – Many of the most vocal opponents of the secularization of Christmas make nary a peep all year long to the secularization taking place within the church itself.

2. – These same folks fail to recognize that the true source of the removal of Christ from Christmas is only a result of the removal of Christ from our culture due to the removal of Christ from our churches; something that began a long time ago (long before secular retailers opted for “Happy Holidays” over “Merry Christmas”).

The secularization of Christmas is just a visible sore caused by the underlying affects of a cancer that’s ravaging the church. Trying to “save Christmas” while the bigger issue looms over us is like baling out a sinking boat with a thimble or putting a band-aid on a bullet wound. Your efforts may make you look busy and cause you to feel that you’re doing some good, but in reality they’re both just a waste of time against the tidal wave of the inevitable. Additionally, your efforts also adversely serve as a diversion from the real problem.

I am convinced that the efforts of these social-conscious Christians is not only futile, but distracting. You only hear from these Christians around the Christmas season bemoaning the secularization of the holiday while they remain passive to the secularization that’s crept into their churches all year long with its deadly poisons of lukewarmness and rank heresy.

So what’s my solution? Am I complaining just to complain and be a Scrooge? Not this time.

My recommendation is that first, these seasonal activists recognize that the world is acting like the world. We wouldn’t expect a goldfish to act like a tiger, so why do we expect unregenerate sinners to act like Christians during Christmas time, or at any other time for that matter?

Those of the flesh are hostile toward God. Forcing them to keep Christ in Christmas accomplishes nothing but provides them with a false sense of religious security: “But God, I went to church every Christmas.”

Secondly, stop holding Target, Starbucks, Wal-Mart, and  GAP responsible for the spiritual stagnation of your community, church, and family, and start holding your pastors responsible! When your pastor preaches cutesy little candy-coated, Osteenesque-type, esteem-building, Christ-less lectures about your best life now, protest that!

Finally, teach your children the true meaning of why we celebrate Christmas. Emphasize the real reason Christ stepped from Heaven to be born among men. Be faithful to your calling as parents to teach your children the faith, and don’t abdicate that responsibility to some biblically illiterate youth pastor.

Never let your kids for one moment think that the real story of Christ’s incarnation is about anything other than Christ and Him crucified. The whole point of Christ’s birth was not for gift exchanges and office parties, it was about God making Him who knew no sin to become sin on our behalf so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21).

So here’s my question: If these proponents of keeping Christ in Christmas prevailed today, and everybody put Christ back in Christmas tomorrow, in the realm of eternity, what will they have actually accomplished? Would they have not successfully created a throng of hypocrites who honor God with their lips but whose hearts are far from Him?

Continuing to bemoan the absence of Christ from Christmas while remaining quiet on the absence of Christ in our pulpits is like complaining about the smoke burning your eyes while your house is burning down with your family trapped inside.

Have a Merry Christmas.


Quotes (660)

Gary Gilley Too many Christians, just like their unsaved counterparts, are impressed by appearances rather than structure; are seeking thrills and excitement rather than substance; are more apt to respond to emotional manipulation than a rational discourse. How does a church compete in this rather crowded marketplace? If entertainment has become the standard way of life (as some are suggesting) then how can the churches vie unless they become a bastion of entertainment? But if it gives way to this powerful temptation has not the church been transformed into something other than the church?

- Garry Gilley

The idolatry of celebrity worship: Giving to man what rightly belongs to God.

Paul Proctor has written a much needed piece on the idolatry of celebrity worship, something that has taken our culture by storm. Here’s a quote from the article:

Under their exploited influence, our envy and infatuation often bypasses logic, reason and sound judgment, persuading us to listen and follow their lead even though they don’t know us and we don’t know them beyond the manufactured and well-guarded image we see and hear in the media.

This is the mysterious power of celebrity – a seductive and intoxicating force that too many covet and too few fear – a form of inebriation and delusion, and at times, insanity that incites brazen and bizarre behavior from those who fawn at the feet of fame, making them say and do things they would not otherwise.

The next time you happen to be anywhere near a celebrity, don’t watch them – watch the people around them and you’ll better understand what I’m talking about. Hopefully, what you see and hear will be offensive enough to keep you from being brought under the celebrity’s spell.

Proctor also addresses this same phenomenon within the church as he cites one pastor’s starry-eyed infatuation with the universalist Billy Graham. To read Proctor’s entire article, click here.



Quotes (659)

A W Pink

Within fifty years of the death of the last of the apostles, so far as we can now learn, the Gospel of God’s grace almost ceased to be preached. Instead of evangelizing, the preachers of the second and third centuries gave themselves to philosophizing. Metaphysics took the place of the simplicity of the Gospel. Then, in the fourth century, God mercifully raised up a man, Augustine, who faithfully and fearlessly proclaimed the Gospel. So mightily did God empower both his voice and pen that more than half of Christendom was shaken by him. Through his instrumentality came a Heaven-sent revival. His influence for good staved off the great Romish heresy for another century. Had the churches heeded his teaching, popery would never have been born. But they turned back to vain philosophy and science, falsely so-called. Then came the Dark Ages, when for centuries the Gospel ceased to be generally preached. Here and there feeble voices were raised, but most of them were soon silenced by the Italian priests. It was not until the fifteenth century that the great Reformation came. God raised up Martin Luther, who taught in no uncertain terms that sinners are justified by faith and not by works.

- A.W. Pink

1886 – 1952

The Two Trees

(From: Discernment Research Group at Herescope)
Meditation that is not founded upon the Word of God, like a labyrinth, is a maze that ultimately ends up in futility, going nowhere but endless spirals.

Those who have practiced Eastern-style meditation, with its emptying of the mind and/or visualization (imagery), often do so because they desire to acquire peace, or because they are hurting and desire their inner psycho-spiritual needs to be met. Yet they will eventually find that their needs are not met, and they are more empty than ever. Further, this type of meditation opens one’s mind to occult spirituality – even if it is done under the aura of being “Christian.”

Read the rest of the article here.

Brookstone and the Homosexual Agenda

Peter Vadala (Photo from MassResistance.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brookstone, a store known for innovative gadgets, fired Peter Vadala from his sales position at the Logan Airport branch in Boston, MA.  Fired because Mr. Vadala stood up for his Christian faith and vocalized his disapproval of a homosexual union which a Brookstone female manager made repeated references to in approaching Mr. Vadala during the work day.  And of course as we all know nary a word can be spoken against the sin of homosexuality without all the fury of hell being unleashed to beat the person speaking such non-politically correct words into silence.

This being exactly what Brookstone has done by firing Mr. Vadala.  A company that prides itself on tolerance but this so-called tolerance is only a one-way street.  A one-way street because even though Mr. Vadala was extremely offended by this manager and her relationship, his feelings and religious beliefs (which Brookstone says they defend) are immaterial because homosexuals want über (supreme) rights. 

To read about this case, please see the article at WND here.  You also can check out MassResistance which deals with cases such as these.  Also, I highly encourage readers to contact Brookstone by writing a letter, e-mailing, or calling in order to voice your disappointment with their decision (get your friends and others to do so likewise).  In so doing, please be strong in your beliefs and wording, but take note to reflect Christ and not give the Gentiles an opportunity to blaspheme God.  Also, tell them you will be voting with your dollars and not supporting their store.  Sadly, the voice of mammon is the typically the only voice that corporations give ear to.