Some people are pretty ticked that there is less “Christmas” in Christmas – at least publicly.
It used to be that retailers would call the famous holiday plant for what it was – a “Christmas tree.”
But current trends in Christmas advertising reveal that many stores are replacing references to “Christmas” with what they feel is a less offensive description of their products.
K-Mart, owned by Sears Holding Corporation, is the target of an e-mail alert issued by one Christian legal group for its renaming of “Christmas trees” to “holiday trees” or simply “trees” in its advertising.
According to the Fla.-based Liberty Counsel, when one of its supporters asked K-Mart for an explanation of the company’s disregard for Christmas, a Sears Holding Corporation representative said the company replaced the phrase in order not to draw complaints from non-Christians.
“The reason for our use of holiday tree is due to the [sic] Sears Holding is a very diverse company, we do not want to offend any of our associates, but also our valued customers,” responded Vincent V. of Sears. “We decided to call them holiday trees because even if Christians are the only religion that uses a Christmas tree, we still do not want complaints from other customers of different religions complaining about our use of Christmas.”
Liberty Counsel urged its supporters last week to contact the president and CEO of Sears to protest the use of “holiday trees” as offensive to shoppers who celebrate Christmas. The group has released names of retailers who censor Christmas in its annual “Naughty or Nice” list, which advises Christians where to shop for Christmas.
I used to be in the ticked off camp. Christmas is, after all, the big deal of the holiday season. More people – by far – celebrate it than celebrate any of the other holidays. It isn’t even close.
But I don’t think that anymore. It really doesn’t matter what retailers do. It really doesn’t matter what governments do. At Christmas it matters what churches do. At Christmas it matters what families do.
We waste too much time and too much energy focusing on things that aren’t important to faith.
What does it matter if stores and governments acknowledge Christmas as the celebration of Christ’s birth? It simply doesn’t. These issues are a grand distraction to our faith. They are things that can make Christians feel good about their faith without requiring anything of them.
That is the opposite of the faith that Jesus instructed his followers to live. Jesus said his followers should expect hardship and trials and oppression. He didn’t tell them to expect Sears to have a Christmas tree. He told them to sacrifice and serve and give and love. He didn’t tell them to expect governments to celebrate is birth.
Perhaps de-Christianizing Christmas is the best thing for the Christian faith IF it forces Christians to focus more on their own spirituality and less on the nation’s spirituality.