Monday, November 27, 2006

He Whose Name We Dare Not Speak: Taking Christ out of Christmas

By John W. Lillpop

Growing up in America during the 1950s, I usually began to notice the first inklings of the “Christmas Spirit” creeping into my consciousness around Thanksgiving.

Having the “Spirit” meant that one was emotionally ready to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, openly and with gusto. This Christmas Spirit overshadowed hatred and enmity, if ever so briefly, and blessed one’s heart with feelings of good will for others--even those normally thought of as adversaries.

Our family celebrated Christmas enthusiastically in our music, literature, food, and social expressions.

Our joyful celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ was evident in parks, schools, churches, police stations, fire houses, court houses, shopping centers, gasoline stations, post offices, banks, airports, train stations, newspapers, magazines, television shows, restaurants, cocktail lounges, movie theaters, libraries, radio broadcasts, work places, homes, sports stadiums, cemeteries, funeral homes, and other public and private gatherings.

Christmas was everywhere, and nearly everyone seemed friendly and happy during this special season. Christmas offered the promise of hope to the human spirit.

And Christmas was unmistakably Christmas—not some neutered, weak-as-water euphemism.

We sent out Christmas cards, decorated Christmas trees, exchanged Christmas gifts, attended Christmas office parties, went door-to-door singing Christmas carols for complete strangers, and went to Christmas eve services.

And we greeted everyone with a heart-felt Merry Christmas!

Happy Holidays, anyone? Not on your bloody pagan life! We would have been genuinely appalled by the mere suggestion that any part of Christmas should be sans the Christ.

When did America change so dramatically—and so wrongly?

To wit, when did:

* Public displays of the Nativity scene become offensive and unconstitutional?

* Wishing someone “Merry Christmas?” become hate speech?

* Christmas cards and Christmas trees become symbols of religious intolerance?

* Beautiful Christmas music like "Joy to the World!," "Silent Night," and "Noel" become less important, and more offensive, in America than rap music?

* Halloween become nearly as important as Christmas in the minds of American youth?

* Relieving the inconvenience of a small minority become more important than preserving the long-standing traditions and culture observed by the overwhelming majority of Americans?

In the 1950s, we were often warned that Christmas was becoming too secular and commercial--and not sacred enough. Learned people worried that the real meaning of Christmas—the birth of Jesus Christ—was being obscured by flashing lights, sparkling tinsel, jolly old fat men in silly costumes, out-of-control Charge it Mania, and an unhealthy obsession with the crass at the expense of the spiritual.

In recent years, the ACLU, activist judges, and other liberal extremists have worked tirelessly to remove Jesus Christ from Christmas and into the category of “He Whose Name We Dare Not Speak.”

Although they have succeeded to a certain extent, the liberal attempt to eradicate Jesus Christ from Christmas will ultimately fail.

We can all help to hasten that failure by remembering the real meaning of Christmas, and by letting the Christmas Spirit bless our hearts with the Good News of the gospels.

Merry Christmas to all!