There is No War on Christmas3 min read

No, there is no “war on Christmas.”

That may seem like a radical statement, but I really don’t want to get political here. And I promise I won’t wander into my own ideas about the Constitution, the First Amendment, or any of the usual arguments in this category. But I feel I must correct at least this misunderstanding.

There cannot be a “war on Christmas” if only one side is fighting.

Pushed out of the Public Square

For those who are concerned that the Christian faith is being marginalized, or that expressions of faith are being pushed out of the public square, I share your concern. There are places where believers have been penalized for expressing their faith (although that’s not a new problem.) But the far greater concern is not that expressions of Christian faith will be forbidden, but rather that there are so few people who are even trying to express such a faith.

Yes, our society has redefined Christmas. This has been going on a long time. I remember the remark of a co-worker, a fellow machinist who ran the vertical mill next to mine, back in 1980. He complained that Christians were trying to make Christmas into a religious thing! Imagine that!

Surrendered by Christians

But where did the redefinition of Christmas begin? It started with us! How is it possible that our entire society could be focused on seasonal foods, seasonal trees and lights, and seasonal gift-giving and still miss the heart and meaning of the season? It is only possible because that meaning was first SURRENDERED by Christians.

What does attendance look like at Advent services in your church? Do your home decorations just look bright? Do they say something about the light of Jesus? Yes, your Christmas cards might say “Merry Christmas” instead of merely “Happy Holidays,” but did you write anything more than Merry Christmas to tell about the gift you received from your heavenly Father? Are you too busy shopping, or have you found time to spend in devotion – lighting an Advent wreath – reading God’s Word so that His promise will be on your lips as it is in your mind?

Wielding the Sword of the Spirit

Christians will not win a “war” on Christmas if they are not waging it through their witness in words and godly living. Friends, what we all must first do is honestly fight part of this war in our own hearts, and in our homes, and inevitably in our own words and deeds. We need to repent of our own apathy in these matters, especially that we are not spending more time with the Advent King in the study of His Word and in prayerful conversation with Him. Only when we do, and the true Light of the World is glowing in our lives and witness, will the world discover they have truly been invaded by an army of believers who wield the Sword of the Spirit.

Winning the War for Christmas

Do you want to make a difference? Do you want to be a soldier in the “War FOR Christmas?” Don’t just say “Merry Christmas” and feel like you have made a point against the “Happy Holidays” crowd. Instead, start by actually having daily Advent devotions with your family or friends. Gather around some burning candles and talk about the Light of the World who is coming. Read the promises that God has given you. Pray together for Jesus to come, not only in the far future but also that He might come into the lives of the people around you. Experience the real joy and merriment of a life in Christ, and then you can begin to share it joyfully with all those who will receive it.

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About the Author

Rev. Donald Neuendorf serves as senior pastor at St. Paul, Ann Arbor.

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