Every year about this time, the stories start popping up on the news about a public nativity scene and people demanding it be torn down due to separation of church and state, political correctness, etc. And every year, Christians are up in arms about it. And every year I wonder are we doing the right thing?
Wow! Am I a turncoat? Am I turning on the faith? Hardly. I get irritated by a lot of it too. I hate hearing people refer to school Christmas parties referred to as Winter celebrations (as if there was anything but Christmas to celebrate about winter). I want to keep Christ in Christmas as much as anyone and more than most. My struggle is with our actions. Are people who say Happy Holidays really being hostile? I doubt it. They are trying as best they can to deal with a very pluralistic society and trying not to offend. But let’s take a worse case scenario and say they really are being hostile toward Christ and Christians. I sometimes wonder if we remember what Jesus said. He told us people would hate us because they hated Him first. I think He was preparing us for a time when people would reject Him and I thin we are moving more and more to that. The actions of our society against Jesus are further proof that He spoke the truth and knew what He was talking about. I’m not sure demanding our rights, protesting and “getting ugly” back is really going to do anything to advance the cause of Christ.
What should we do instead? First of all, pray! The scriptures tell us numerous times that “blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” As we become a nation that is walking away, those blessings will dry up. Year after year we vote for politicians who we think will change that and bring us blessings and by and large it has not worked. Man can’t give us the blessings of God, only God can do that and He gets to choose what and how He will bless. Our nation is in need of prayer and of Jesus. Demanding our rights is a political solution. Instead we need to take up our crosses and follow Jesus.
The answer to Christmas wars is to stop fighting in the courts and in the streets. We don’t advance the cause of Christ by being less Christ-like. We advance the cause of Christ by being more Christ-like—turning the other cheek and loving the unlovely. I know this is not easy but here’s the thing, Jesus never said it would be easy, he said a time would come when people would turn away from Him. We still need to live for Him.
What’s funny is, people don’t even have to believe Jesus is real to see that He is real in you. They don’t need to believe in Jesus to see following Him makes you live a better life, they just have to see you live a better life (no matter the circumstances) and give God the glory for the change in you. Perhaps seeing Christ in you will make them consider Him. That’s what Jesus meant when He told His disciples men would see their good deeds and praise our Father in heaven.
They might tear down the town nativity scene, but they can’t block the light coming from a heart where Jesus rules and reigns. Only you can do that. So this year as the Christmas wars start to rage, fight nice or better yet, shine. Love others, help others, serve others, give of yourself, look for the hurting heart and do something about it. Be Jesus so they can see Jesus.
I’m not sure we can win the Christmas wars, nor am I sure we should even try, but I’ve read the book and at the end (spoiler alert) Jesus wins! Advance His cause with love.