…sort of answering some of the comments.
I’ve been away, busy about my Christmas activities…which -believe me- this year are being examined a little more closely because the issues in the culture have me questioning just how beloved some of my own tradtional celebrations are. ..or should be…Hmmm.
Thinking about both Rusty and Carol’s comments.
I am personally transitioning on some of this matter of how we should react (and act) within our free society. I have always had something of the warrior spirit, and been a pretty bold crusader. I’ve street witnessed- which I haven’t done for years, but love! I’ve done cold call evangelism, but it isn’t part of my life now. Raising a large family has created other concerns and lifestyle; and in following homeschool, etc. I had been more politically motivated than I might have otherwise been.
All that said…for this…
I believe there is a two-pronged approach to “occupying” until Christ comes. One is the personal ‘Barnabas’ and one is the global ‘Paul’ vision. Sometimes the two conflict, as those men of God found in their differing manner of dealing with Mark. I think these are two illustrative principles of how we serve Christ. There is a world to save, and it is one by one that men are discipled. So both Paul and Barnabas had their callings, and both were true to them.
I believe in making cultural statements, but I am pulling back from mass movement as being the best way to do this. Because are we simply about making statements? Don’t we wish for impact, and in terms of changing actual lives of individuals? And isn’t that through introduction of Jesus to the person, rather than some lip service forced through intimidating or faddish manipulations?
We are often diluted in our essential convictions when we have all these promoted issues on which we are supposed to push the agenda. There are some very important ones at stake.
I think we should move politically as a block to change the abortion policies of this country. We are presently falling short of the necessary effort on that. Instead, I find things such as this non-issue of ‘Holiday’ vs. ‘Christmas’ siphoning off Christian energies. As Christians we don’t really have a big stick… and we look like fools when we have big mouths.
The primary target I have felt is important for us as Americans is exponentially so for Christians…and that is this: It is mandatory to hold the high ground in a matter. Mandatory. Moral force depends upon it. And we should allow the power of morality, of right, do the moving forward, while we support it. Once we start to force it ourselves, we are in danger of crossing lines we don’t even see… and losing the whole war to support right.
Christmas is not an American holiday, it is Christian. As Christians we should celebrate it in a way that is congruent with the message of our scriptures. Peace on earth to men of good will…. How does exacting every priviledge for ourselves fit with that message? When we insist that stores carry a message and wage political sanctions against it -is this worth our time? Is my message to be in Christmas cards or in the way I live? Are we really doing both? Are we, when we can’t respond to pressure from our society except to rage and stomp our collective foot?
This is not to say we don’t participate politically, or vote our conscience. I think this is what is getting muddled, and I worry about where this will carry us, if we unthinkingly follow the herd. First, we should determine if Christ is at the head of that flock.
Christmas is an opportunity in the culture, but only as an outcome of what it is within our hearts. How much real joy do you get from making stores capitulate to your will? I get nothing. That isn’t where my joy springs from, and I don’t intend on expending any energy in that direction.
And I write about it as a way to think it out, but also because I have a strong suspician that no one else is going to get any holy joy from it, either. I think as Americans we have depended far too much on the outer manifestations attesting to our faith and let the inner, intiial, basis for them atrophy away.
Here’s how I see it stacks up:
Take way the spiritual beauty of the Christian celebration of a holy event, and all you have left is the commercial chaotic merrymaking. This quickly devolves into an empty obligatory type of giving and grasping after what you can get. This, in turn, becomes something distasteful to many and the resulting dislike of giving under that sort of pressure results in disillusionment with the whole process and holiday.
Now there is something that will effect the whole economic structure of the commercialization of the “Holiday”.
Eventually it will be to the loss of the stores and the society. And that is just the monetary loss. The loss to the soul of the society, in aspirations to be charitable, to be more humane and caring in honor of something that throughout the centuries has lifted the hopes and of men and infused joy into their lives…that loss is inestimable.
But this is something that can never become realized as long as there are Christians that center around Christ- His coming, His Life, His coming again. And that is where we should be- living that out so powerfully that no ACLU, no CEO executive decision can obliterate it.
Carol did interest me in getting some of the Christmas history into some posts. I’m going to do some digging around and see what I can come up with…