WWJD in the War Against Christmas?

Because so many people are outraged that other people are saying things like, “Happy Holidays,” or that stores have signs which say “Xmas", I asked myself: What would Jesus do?

war-on-christmasAlthough not a Christian myself, I have read the New Testament several times. (Sound moral thinking is sound moral thinking, regardless of whether or not I agree with the direct divinity of the source.)  So I tried to imagine someone going up to Him and expressing anger that others weren’t calling the day of His birth by the right name. I like to think of Him pausing while washing the feet of the poor or feeding the hungry or befriending the most despised people in society and looking at the person with His infinite patience, “Oh, that’s too bad. Excuse me, I have important work to do.” And with that he would get back to preventing a crowd from stoning a woman to death or comforting the sick or teaching about the importance of having no God before God or treating your fellow human as if you thought they were also humans.

Whenever I hear someone say, “There’s no X in Christmas,” I am always tempted to ask, “But is there any Christ in Christmas?” I do not, because to do so would be to give in to my own ego and not treat that person with the love and patience he or she deserves. There are many great places to learn that and, while my personal preference is Buddhist,  it is also laid out very well in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Good texts, all.

Another fine take on this issue can be found at the website DefendChristmas.com:

We assert there is a war on Christmas. It is an old and unsettled debate. But it has nothing to do with television pundits, school grounds, city parks or Supreme Courts. The war on Christmas is fought in the home and in the heart.

The site’s mission is,  “to referee the passionate-though-misguided combatants in the War on Christmas. If we have to discuss these things — and evidently we do — then we will be a voice of reason for both sides of the debate and serve to provide simple reminders of “peace on Earth, goodwill to all men”. Amen to that.

BTW, if you are interested in a very good and very well informed discussion about how Dec. 25th came to be the approved date for His birth, please see this fine article from The Catholic Encyclopedia.

Concerning the date of Christ’s birth the Gospels give no help; upon their data contradictory arguments are based. The censuswould have been impossible in winter: a whole population could not then be put in motion. Again, in winter it must have been; then only field labour was suspended. But Rome was not thus considerate. Authorities moreover differ as to whether shepherds could or would keep flocks exposed during the nights of the rainy season.

3 thoughts on “WWJD in the War Against Christmas?

  1. Khan, I think the situation is more complicated then you make it out to be. I honestly don’t care what people call these days on the calendar, I choose to celebrate the birth of my Christ.

    The problem begins when I am told that saying “Merry Christmas” is not an acceptable statement in ‘public’ because it may offend someone.

    When I try and play devils advocate with this person and state that ‘Happy Holidays’ offends me they tell me that I need to be more accepting and open to others and their thoughts and feelings, while they obviously don’t care about mine.

    But I like your twist on WWJD. I think you missed the whole method of his teaching in the form of answering questions brought to him, or comments made in the crowds. He wouldn’t have excused himself but rather He would have whipped out some great and clever parable that all could understand and digest. Now the real question would be … what would be in this parable?

    Good Hunting.

  2. It’s a year later, time for another “war on Christmas”!

    This is beyond my pay grade as well, but I thought I’d give it a shot.

    When Dr. Who isn’t looking I borrow his time machine for a moment, jet back 2000 years, and meet Jesus on a hillside. Assuming that I have a babble-fish (hitch-hiker’s guide) in my ear, so that I don’t have to bother with Aramaic translation, the following conversation ensues:

    Me: Jesus!

    Jesus: Hello, I’m used to being addressed as Rabbi, but, whatever, may I help you?

    Me: Jesus, you would be so offended by what’s happening in the 21st century!

    Jesus: Really?

    Me: People have started a war on Christmas!

    Jesus: What’s Christmas?

    Me: Oh? Well, a little background, then. You see, we don’t know your actual birthday, so over the millennia we took a pagan winter solstice party, tossed in a few religious icons, and – voila! – created a birthday party for you! We call it Christmas! That’s a term made up of the word “Christ” (your last name) …

    Jesus: Um, actually I don’t have a last …

    Me: … and the the word “mass” which is … well, that’s a catholic thing, not important. ANYWAY, we chop down an evergreen tree, stick it in our house and decorate it, and we go out to merchants and buy hordes of gifts for our friends and family! All to celebrate your birthday! Isn’t that great!

    Jesus: Um …

    Me: ANYWAY, SOME of these merchants have joined a war on Christmas!

    Jesus: Ah… perhaps you are referring to religious persecution? So they’re barring you from their shops?

    Me: well, no, not exactly …

    Jesus: Then, perhaps they are refusing to cater to your needs? Refusing to stock the gifts and evergreen trees and decorations you need for your religious celebration?

    Me: well, no …

    Jesus: I’m sorry, could you explain the problem, again?

    Me: Well, after we’ve gone to these shops, and picked up our trees, and gifts, and tinsel and things; and we’re at the counter, and we pay the merchant, and take our receipt … well … at that moment, the merchant’s employee is refusing to say “Merry Christmas”!

    Jesus: Um … so they are persecuting you by being rude? The silent treatment?

    Me: They might as well be! They’ll say something pagan and evil like “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings”, and they might even smile, but in their hearts they are fighting a war on Christmas!

    Jesus: Um ….

    Me: AND, it’s not just the merchants! It’s the politicians!

    Jesus: What’s a politician?

    Me: Ah, you’d call ’em Caesars. You know, we pay taxes to them? ANYWAY, the Caesars, too, are refusing to say “Merry Christmas”!

    Jesus: (stands silent for a few moments) … um… I’m afraid, you’ve lost me, but, tell you what, if you’d like to hang around, I’ll be talking to a crowd on the other side of this hill in a few minutes … a little talk about meekness and peacemaking and turning the other cheek – I’ll throw in a few parables … it’ll be great, hope to see you there.

    (He walks away)

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