Merry Christmas from the Green-Walled Tower! I got the ladder out and put up lights around the ivy and put a bit of mistletoe somewhere, in case the missus wanders by. I’m sitting, looking out my window at the world all lit up with lights and I notice a small point of conflict.
Apparently there is a war on Christmas. For those of you who haven’t heard this term before, it is the conflict (mostly in North America) about saying Merry Christmas versus Happy Holidays, and using religious Christmas images in public places. I’m not here to debate the details of this or to say that there isn’t a war on Christmas. I’m here to say why it doesn’t matter one way or the other. I know that this is a very charged issue for a lot of people, but please here me out.
What does Christmas mean?
I’m sure you could get a million answers to this question, ranging from “absolutely nothing” to “buying a lot of expensive crap” to “spending time with family and friends” and “celebrating the birth of Jesus”. Sure, the birth of Jesus is the original meaning of Christmas, but all of these answers are valid. I’m not saying that all of them should or shouldn’t be the meaning of Christmas, but pragmatically, they are. Christmas is a lot of things to a lot of people.
I always try to be a peacemaker and I try to see both sides of every issue. As a Christian, I understand people getting upset that Jesus, not only the reason for the holiday in the first place, but also our Savior, gets a back seat to Santa Claus a lot of times. However, for those of you who think that there is a war on Christmas, I have three thoughts.
1. The original Christmas story is unchanged
I just went and watched the second Hobbit movie a couple days ago. And while I didn’t like everything about it, it was a pretty good movie. However, even if they had really butchered it, the book The Hobbit would have remained unchanged. That is how I view Christmas. Rudolph and Santa cannot erase the Christmas story. Christmas has survived the introduction of Christmas trees, holly, and mistletoe, as well as numerous other traditions that have nothing to do with the original Christmas. Even if the word Christmas is eventually effaced from public usage and people use the term Annual Gift Exchange Day or Santamas, it still won’t affect the original meaning of Christmas, which brings me to the second point.
2. What matters most is how you personally celebrate Christmas
In Korea, Christians in Korea go to church most of the day and then go help poor people. This makes me a bit embarrassed since although I’m a Christian, I don’t go to church on Christmas (that’s for Christmas Eve). Christmas for me is a time for family. I wouldn’t want Koreans judging me for not going to church and so I should not judge others if they want to say Happy Holidays or read The Night Before Christmas instead of Luke 2. Honestly, I think it’s pretty impressive that non-Christians talk and sing about Jesus as much as they do around Christmas time.
3. Let’s have a little peace, shall we?
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:14)
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:18)
“For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.” (1 Corinthians 14:33)
Merry Christmas, everyone. I hope you have a great day.