This week, the following headline caught my eye:
In 'The War on Christmas,' Christmas is winning
For increasing number of retailers this year, no more 'Happy holidays'
The WAR on Christmas???
Who declared war on Christmas? According to the article, the American Family Association retaliated against the political correctness of retail advertising with Action Alerts calling for boycotts. It seems this pro-family, Christian organization has challenged retailers to use the word “Christmas” in their advertising as opposed to “holiday.” For example, for many retailers this year “holiday trees” are “Christmas trees” and “holiday shopping” is “Christmas shopping.” The article can be read in its entirety at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40260889/ns/business-consumer_news/ .
The article refers to this challenge as a “crusade” stating that many view the AFA’s tactics “as bullying, but Randy Sharp from the AFA rejects that. It’s not bullying, it’s consumer advocacy.”
Personally, I wonder about the wisdom of these tactics. While I grieve on behalf of my Savior whose Name has been cast aside in the interest of profits and political correctness, Christmas is about the Kingdom that Christ came to this earth to establish. And the hallmark of that Kingdom is love, not boycotts. Using earthly tactics for heavenly gain doesn’t honorably represent Christ who came as a servant though He is a King, who died a criminal’s death though He was the most innocent of any who ever lived, who taught us to turn the other cheek, walk the second mile, and love the unlovely. Maybe if instead of rising up in righteous anger, more time was spent on our knees, praying for those who don’t know the God we serve, we’d see a change in hearts which concerns Jesus much more than a change in advertising.
I feared boycotts and aggressive stances would cause a backlash to the backlash. And sure enough, today’s newspaper headline “War on Christmas” describes the atheists’ multimedia “strike against Christmas.”
Using a giant billboard at the heavily trafficked entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel to NYC as their weapon, they declare “If the religious right wants a war on Christmas, this is what they’re going to get. If they want a war on Christmas, we’re going to make sure they know what one looks like.”
Well, I for one, don’t want a war.
In this season celebrating the Prince of Peace, about whom the angels declared, “Peace on earth, good will to men,” how is it that we are discussing war, the very thing that Jesus deplores? I do not believe we are to be doormats or ignorant. I believe that we are to be “wise as serpents and gentle as doves.” We should counter the culture with both righteousness and compassion.
In Ephesians 6, Paul records the armor of God that we as His soldiers are to employ. There is only one offensive weapon - “the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God.” The word “sword” refers to a type of knife that is better translated as “scalpel,” a knife that is an instrument of healing, not of destruction or war. That is how the Bible is to be used, as an instrument of healing.
Oh that we would be prayer warriors in this conflict, seeking salvation for the lost. That our hearts would be focused on the One who willingly left His throne to don flesh and bone that He might redeem us for His own. Let us remember that the war was already won at Calvary.