According to the conservative media, we are at war with Christmas. As a member of the Protestant clergy all I can say is—I hope Christmas loses. May the baby Jesus roll over in his manger and kick his swaddled little feet in joyful acknowledgement of pluralistic America. If we are indeed at war for a plastic nativity scene, the words merry Christmas (btw, there was nothing remotely “merry” about the birth of Jesus), the right to call a lighted evergreen with a star on top a “Christmas” tree, then I hope the other team wins and my team loses. Christians should be at war with anything as exclusive as the way Americans celebrate Christmas. We should certainly be at war with anything that represents Christianity as superior to other world religions and world views. The war on Christmas is a good thing.
Fox News tells us that “88% of Americans still believe in Christmas”. Interesting, since there aren’t even that many Christians in America (according to the Pew Forum only 70% of Americans identify as Christian). So at least 18% of America is running around believing in Christmas but not in Jesus? So what is Christmas if it can be “believed in” absent its actual founder? The Fox News commentator who adamantly said that 88% of Americans still believe in Christmas, obviously counts herself in that group. I wonder if she is also one of the Americans who doesn’t believe in Jesus? It would appear so. Or at least not the Jesus in the Gospels. Jesus came to set free the oppressed, feed the poor, make the last first. Not really topics that gain a lot of coverage on Fox News.
The baby Jesus (and the adult Jesus) did not come to be the thing-that-everyone-does from Thanksgiving through the after-Christmas sales at Younkers. The baby Jesus did not come to be everyone’s favorite holiday. The baby Jesus did not come so we can feel religiously safe/superior when we drive past nativity scenes set up on public property. Jesus was subversive, revolutionary, Jewish, a convicted criminal and executed for seditious behavior. I am glad there is a war on Christmas. Hopefully we can defeat the Christmas that memorializes the birth of the meek and mild Jesus and in doing so, usher back in the subversive Jesus who came to establish a new social order.
Your heart can thrill to the sound of O Holy Night but don’t ignore the lyrics:
Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
This recent war could be a good thing. It could save Jesus from Christmas.