Thursday, December 8, 2011

What Is So Threatening About Christmas?

For years there has been an active attempt to remove all symbols of Christianity from the public arena. This is most evident during the Christmas season. There is something about the symbols of Christmas that threaten the ACLU crowd. To me, this makes about as much sense as a democratic Moslem country being asked by a small Christian minority to remove all references of Ramadan from the public forum.

Regardless of how one feels about this issue, it seems to me the question must be asked, “What is so offensive about a holiday that teaches “peace on earth and good will toward men”? I believe that I have an answer to that question. The truth is that one can't hear the Christmas message and reflect upon all of its meaning without having a response. It forces us to consider eternal matters. It reminds us of God’s love and our responsibility to respond positively to that love. It points us beyond the cradle to the Cross. It demands that we deal with questions that extend beyond this life as we know it.

This is not a new phenomenon. In the second chapter of the Gospel of Matthew we find three reactions to the birth of this baby that set the stage for attitudes throughout the ages. Herod felt threatened by the news of this birth. He saw this child as an infringement on his power and rule. He violently sought to stamp out the Christ Child. The scribes and Pharisees on the other hand chose to ignore Him as much as was possible. Although they had the prophesies of the sacred writings that pointed to the birth of a special child, there is little evidence that they took the time to seek out the child and to attempt to verify or disprove who He was. Finally, there were the Wisemen who came and paid homage to the Child. They saw that this child was special and they worshipped him.

Two thousand years have passed and we still celebrate this birth. There are still those who are threatened by it; there are still those who choose to ignore it; and there are still those who choose to worship the “newborn king”. For those who choose the latter, Christmas represents far more than the frills of Christmas decorations and gifts. It represents the greatest gift of all, the gift of God’s Son. It represents the gift that ultimately makes it possible for anyone who chooses to receive it to have eternal life.

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