Pointing fingers rarely gets underneath an issue. Fox News offers a page on their site dedicated to stories about the assault on Christmas. Recently a local news anchor here in flyover country picked this up for one if his two-cent rants.
Kelly Ogle did not waste much time getting to this,
Every couple of days we get the same stories about spineless people in high places cowering at the miniscule minority whining about the term “Christmas” being affixed to any event or celebration that includes the colors red and green.
Ogle’s solution? Stand up to the secularizing of Christmas and let them take you to court, again and again. Eventually they will get tired,
Call it that over and over and make the opponents take you to court until they’re sick of taking you to court and maybe this stupidity about Christmas will end.
Before going on you should know I enjoy celebrating Christmas as the proper response to the Season of Advent. I do not enjoy Christmas as commerce. Nor do I enjoy Christmas as polite etiquette, Merry Christmas.
It is not that I do not want people to have a Merry Christmas. It is simply that since most conservative Christians do not believe language is constitutive of reality but instead describes a corresponding reality, wishing someone Merry Christmas does not mean they will have a Merry Christmas.
Even more, when Christians gleefully get up from the table after Thanksgiving dinner to participate in Black Thursday Friday, there is little ground on which to stand and complain when cashiers or sales personnel do not enthusiastically respond to Merry Christmas. Blitzkreiging your favorite outlet shop for deals is not the same as preparing for Jesus, much less celebrating his coming.
When Christians get roiled about the absence of Merry Christmas, or even the word Christmas, from the normal course of our holiday celebrations, it calls into question our actions, if not our words. What if we took a different tact and learned something from those who do think language is constructive, even constitutive? Were we really interested in Merry Christmas we would remember that God did not simply announce there would be “Peace on earth.” His words constituted a new reality in the Incarnation. We call that Divine Agency, God did/does something.
Every time we post a complaint on Facebook and Twitter that some event or business faced pressure because of its colors – green and red – or for a reference to Christmas, I want to ask, “And what are you doing to bring about Merry Christmas?”” Do our cultural trappings that now go hand in hand with our religious observance really declare the Good News? Or, do they make us feel good that we have captured a good does of sentimentality for a Kodak moment.
Oops. That is right. There may be no more Kodak moments. Maybe we should bolster our war of words with a bevy of actions. Just today Forbes published an article about children and sex trafficking in the United States. That is right, these United States of America. You want children to have a Merry Christmas, what are we doing to help the more than 100,000 children taken and forced to sell themselves? How are we calling for laws that do not victimize these victims again? The numbers in our Country form but a tip of the iceberg that is the global epidemic of human trafficking.
How about the next time we re-post a mock billboard touting Jesus’ longing to hear Merry Christmas we stop to think about how those around us will see us living for their Merry Christmas? Would that not provide evidence we understand the culmination of Advent when realizing Jesus lived, died, and lives for our Merry Christmas. Trivializing Jesus’ coming with commerce seems an affront. Worse making it about words only seems to betray God’s agency.
Maybe Christians wage a bigger war on Christmas.
Where are the billboards of our lives? The Apostle Paul suggested we are living letters of love. Our salutary efforts must be more consistent. Why not a Page on the Interwebs telling the stories of Christians living Merry Christmas rather than finding sermonic fodder for Advent Season culture warring?
We pacify ourselves with singing Christmas Trees and pageants. What in our personal lives demonstrates sacrifice and service to others? Have you ever considered buying nothing and giving everything? That would be a year round Christmas gift.
No, not every Christian and maybe not even most Christians assault Christmas with contradictory habits and practices during this celebrated Season. But, we tend to hear more from those whose shrill is the loudest when what is needed is the amplification of the relational choir of love servicing others in the Name of Jesus.
Were we to give ourselves accordingly we may say, Merry Christmas, as both describing a reality as well as constituting one.