O Me of Little Faith

O Me of Little Faith


Rant: Not “Standing” for Christmas

posted by Jason Boyett

So yesterday I spent a lot of my day being annoyed with Focus on the Family. I have mixed feelings about them as an organization. Through publications like Boundless and the now-defunct TrueU (I have written for both), they provide thoughtful resources for young Christians. Founder James Dobson got his start as a counselor giving advice to families, and you know what? As a parent, I think he gives pretty good advice. I even quote him, favorably, in my upcoming revision to Guy’s Guide to Life.

Focus on the Family does OK when they actually, you know, focus on the family. But I absolutely do not like when Focus on the Family gets focused on things like politics and culture wars, because inevitably they get sidetracked. Non-issues become super-important. Big issues get lost.

Case in point: the war on Christmas. I feel a rant coming on.

FotF wants us to “Stand for Christmas by taking part in a rate-a-retailer campaign they’ve devised in order to convince retailers that they need to keep Christ in Christmas. Their stated point is “to assist you, the consumer” in making a wise decision about where you spend your Christmas money. Because as the Bible says, we should only shop at Christian retailers who say the word “Christmas.” (Wait…the Bible doesn’t say that? What?!?)

So they list a bunch of retail chains, and you can rate their Christmasy-ness based on whether or not their signage and catalogs say “Merry Christmas!” (Good!) or “Happy Holidays!” (Evil!), and whether they feature religious decorations (mangers, angels) or generic holiday decor (snowmen).

The result? According to their “up-to-the-second” ratings, Banana Republic is 83% offensive to Christians (apparently BR employees are instructed not to say “Christmas”). Old Navy is 58% offensive, probably based on interactions like this posted one: They had the store looking very nice but I did not hear any Christmas music! When I said “Merry Christmas” the employee responded with “Happy Holidays.” I then said no “Merry Christmas” and he just walked away!!!

(I would walk away from you, too, if you replied to my seasonal greeting with rudeness.)

Kohl’s, however, is only 4% offensive. Because its cashiers have been known to say “Merry Christmas.”

I am offended. I’m not terribly offended by Banana Republic or Old Navy. I’m not even 4 percent offended by Kohl’s. I am offended at the idea of a Christian group rating secular stores on how much they embrace Christmas. Why? Let me count the ways.

1. It offends me logically. Old Navy is a clothing store. It is a secular retailer. It is not a Christian store. Why are we concerned that secular retailers are not exhibiting religious behavior? They are not a religious entity. They are trying to attract customers — as many customers as possible, some of whom are not religious. It’s like the local mosque being offended because I, a Christian, am not praying five times a day toward Mecca. It’s like me being offended that my dog doesn’t type very well. He’s a DOG. He’s not supposed to be typing.

2. It offends me historically. The whole “taking Christ out of Christmas” thing sorta loses flavor for me when you look at the history of Christmas. For at least the first couple centuries of Christianity, the Church didn’t celebrate Christ’s birth. There WAS NO Christmas. Christ’s resurrection was a huge commemoration, but no one gave any thought to noting (much less celebrating) his birth.

That is, until Constantine needed to legitimize Christianity in Roman society in the 3rd century. One of the ways he did it was by injecting Jesus into Saturnalia, the popular Roman winter solstice festival. That way the Romans could keep their major holiday and the Church could get some religious mileage out of it, too. Should we boycott stores that “Take Christ out of Christmas” by watering down the holiday? Only if we’re OK with Roman pagans picketing us because we watered down Saturnalia by mixing it with Jesus. (And don’t get me started on all the other Christmas traditions — gifts, mistletoe, trees — that have pagan origins. Are they bad? No. But they’re not originally Christian. We don’t own them.)

3. It offends me socially. You know what kind of retailer rating I’d like to see? I’d like to see one that rates them based on how they treat people. Like, do they use sweatshop labor? Is their clothing made by nine-year-olds in the Philippines? How do they treat their employees here? I could care less about what they say at the check-out stand or what signs they display. What’s more important to me is what they do. It occurs to me that Jesus made this very distinction in taking offense at the Pharisees — he condemned them for hiding their evil behind nice, clean appearances. Based on the logic of this campaign, it doesn’t matter if a company exploits their workers. What matters is whether or not the catalogs say “Christmas” on the cover. A Jesus who cared about taking a stand for Christmas today would have to be a Jesus who, in the Bible, praised the Pharisees for advertising their ritual cleanliness while neglecting widows and orphans. If you find that Jesus in the Bible, let me know, because I can’t.

4. It offends me morally. What about consumerism and greed? That doesn’t come into question at all in this campaign. Stand for Christmas isn’t telling you to spend less this Christmas. It’s not telling you to stand against culture by curbing your materialistic tendencies. It’s not telling you to focus less on getting and more on giving, which I think should be a pretty big part of the Christian holiday message. No…it’s telling you to keep on being a consumer, as long as you’re consuming from the proper Jesus-confirmed sources.

5. It offends my sense of consistency. You know what would be interesting? Instead of rating secular stores on how secular they are — which is stupid (see #1) — what if we rated churches on how secular they’ve become? How much do they talk about Jesus, versus how much they talk about Gospel-free subjects like living a Joel Osteen-approved “best life now” or claiming one’s financial blessings? How much of their resources do they spend on the poor, versus how much they spend on lighting and media? Forget the secularization of Christmas. What about the secularization of Christianity the rest of the year?

If I think hard enough, I can probably come up with a few more reasons. But I’m tired of thinking about the subject because it’s just so dumb. It’s not that I hate Christmas. I love Christmas. I love the idea of the incarnation and what it means. I also love the ideas of the Santa Claus tradition (which actually does have its foundations in Christianity) and trees with twinkly lights and pe
ace on earth and goodwill toward men. And I love to give and receive gifts. It’s just that I think the outrage about the Christian-ness of Christmas is silly and misguided.

If we really are in a culture war, then “happy holidays” outrage is like finding a wounded soldier out on the battlefield. He’s lost his left arm. He’s in shock. He’s bleeding out from a mangled shoulder stump. But what catches our attention is — oh, no! — a paper cut on his right arm! We’ve got to take care of THAT! A war is waging! So we devote all our attention to that paper cut. We mess around calling for help and slapping band-aids on the paper cut and warning others against similar paper-cut injuries. We wail and scream about this terrible war that has caused such paper-cut tragedies. We’re busy! We’re helping! We’re making a difference!

Meanwhile, there are other, more important things to think about. Like the bloody stump, which probably should have our attention. Don’t you think?

Let’s worry about the big stuff. Rant over. Happy holidays!

——————-

Notes:

H/T to my buddy Ken Grant, for enraging me by pointing me toward the FotF site. He has a great post at his blog called “I Really Don’t Like Christmas.”

A great resource against the consumerization of Christmas in churches (and everywhere else) is Advent Conspiracy. Love what they do and what they’re about.

Update: My friend Kevin Hendricks has a similar post, which I should have read before saying pretty much the same thing here.



Advertisement
Comments read comments(89)
post a comment
Danny Bixby

posted December 3, 2009 at 1:36 pm


Rants are sometimes healthy. At least you didn't make a whip.



report abuse
 

Stretch Mark Mama

posted December 3, 2009 at 1:48 pm


I liked that so much I feel like sending you an online gift through facebook or somethin'. Maybe a button or a bouquet. Seasons greetings.



report abuse
 

the J in PJs Til Noon

posted December 3, 2009 at 1:51 pm


Well put. Happy Xmas.



report abuse
 

Shoot Son Dang Girl Alissa

posted December 3, 2009 at 1:52 pm


Goodness, I agree with you five thousand percent. Its a perfect example of that one saying "dont complain that the dark is being too dark, worry that the light isnt doing anything about it" or something like that (man I wish I could remember it verbatim right now) But you know what I mean. Sigh.



report abuse
 

Lauree

posted December 3, 2009 at 1:54 pm


if you were female i would say "you go girl!" sunday one of the ladies in the sunday school class i teach brought a printout of the list… it makes me crazy. my mother has started asking people who talk about how the world is taking christ out of christmas by asking them if they have a nativity scene in their yard at christmas. if they say no she just walks off.



report abuse
 

Angela Hoffman

posted December 3, 2009 at 1:55 pm


I can tell this subject really lights your holiday lights…as it should. I could not agree more with your rant..on every point.



report abuse
 

Andrew Nagy

posted December 3, 2009 at 1:56 pm


Well done.



report abuse
 

Angela Hoffman

posted December 3, 2009 at 1:57 pm


@ Lauree…..your story is hilarious!! I love it!!



report abuse
 

Xander

posted December 3, 2009 at 2:12 pm


I believe in not shopping at places that do not support my beliefs, i.e. a place that gives 25% profits to kill babies or something along those lines, but for not being active in making a pagan holiday a religious festival, not a chance. How many more issues are there to deal with in the failing Christian religion then to find the best verbiage in the shopping arena that bests portrays someone's belief in religion. Jews aren't yelling to boycott Kohl's because they are anti-Semitic. I want to start a new movement: Take Christ out of the Pagan Festivals.



report abuse
 

Kevin D. Hendricks

posted December 3, 2009 at 2:13 pm


Word up. You said what I said, and then some.



report abuse
 

Jason Boyett

posted December 3, 2009 at 2:17 pm


@Kevin: Great post. I just updated the blog to link to yours. Had I read it first, I could have just pointed your way and given a thumbs-up. Well done.



report abuse
 

Dan

posted December 3, 2009 at 2:18 pm


This is way too logical and well-thought-out to be a rant, but it is so good just the same. Well done, and great information!



report abuse
 

Cameron Reeves

posted December 3, 2009 at 2:18 pm


Personally, I can't believe that retailers would take Christ out of Christmas, especially after reading my bumper sticker which very clearly reads, "Leave CHRIST in CHRISTmas". Do they not remember the story of Joseph and Mary chopping down that Fir tree, dragging it in the manger, decorating it with small candles that were strung together with yarn, hanging clay ornaments on the branches, and placing neatly wrapped gifts under it on that first night? Have they never read where Joseph & Jesus would climb up on the rooftop each year to decorate the roof ridges and edges with tiny lit incandescent bulbs that were strung together and connected to a small current generating contraption??!! Who do these retailers think that they are?!



report abuse
 

Jen

posted December 3, 2009 at 2:24 pm


Yes! Rant on… it's well-said. The drama needs to just die already.*insert favorite holiday greeting*



report abuse
 

josh

posted December 3, 2009 at 2:25 pm


great thoughts, Jason. what the Church doesn't seem to understand is that these types of "wars" only prove that we lack faith in a God who is bigger than retail. do we really give retail that much power in our Christian lives, to think they could take God out of Christmas? it's not their job to keep Him there in the first place, He's in us. "Keep Christ in Christmas" is a heart statement, not an environmental statement. Thanks for your words.



report abuse
 

Philip

posted December 3, 2009 at 2:38 pm


Totally agreed, Jason.Wouldn't it make sense for the church to be outraged if secular stores started to promote themselves based on their use of "Merry Christmas," as FOTF encourages them to? That would be leveraging our faith to make a buck… like we constantly decry Christmas for doing.Essentially, in one breath we say "Christmas has become too commercial," and in the next breath we say "You're not going to sell anything at this time of year without name-dropping my Lord and Saviour."



report abuse
 

Lauren

posted December 3, 2009 at 3:18 pm


1. I agree with your rant.2. James Dobson is stepping down from FotF. My school paper is one of the first to cover it. (We have insider connections.) No one knows for sure why he's stepping down. dun dun duuunnn



report abuse
 

tmamone

posted December 3, 2009 at 3:19 pm


I'm more concerned about where their products come from (e.g. were the clothes made by children in sweat shops) than whether or not they say "Merry Christmas."



report abuse
 

Lance Culbert

posted December 3, 2009 at 3:25 pm


I think church should reprint your "rant" in their bulletins every Sunday until Christmas! We should be more concerned with keeping Christ in Christians than Christ in Christmas.



report abuse
 

shueytexas

posted December 3, 2009 at 4:14 pm


The yearly War on Christmas fascinates me. It is such a perfect distillation of our society right now. It has it all:- Fear and paranoia, spread via Fox News and your mom's e-mail forwards- A complete and willful ignorance of history, context, basic facts, and common sense- Mistrust of others who might believe differently from you- The arrogance to think that one group – Christians, Americans – owns culture and can dictate how it is to behave- Astoundingly naked hypocrisy — FoF et. al. ostensibly want Christmas to return to the purity of its original meaning, but they direct their efforts towards places of consumerism, which are largely the sustaining force behind the continued drift toward a secular Christmas. Instead of ignoring Old Navy and using their energy to remind us of the simple fact of Jesus and his ideals.This will never happen, but if Christian Christmas Warriors truly wanted to separate the celebration of Christ's birth from the ugliness of the world, they'd abandon December 25. It's a baseless date anyway. Give it over to the world, let it stand for Santa and snow and gifts and parties and egg nog. Choose a day, maybe in August, and make it solely about Christ and what he means. Celebrate it by withdrawing from the world and what words they use at the Gap. Focus on giving, helping, and loving. You know…Jesusy things.Again: never happen. But just like Rudolph bringing myrrh to the baby Jesus at Bing Crosby's house on the Island of Misfit Toys, miraculous things can happen when you believe. Or something.



report abuse
 

Haley Ballast

posted December 3, 2009 at 4:16 pm


big fat AMEN from me. couldn't agree more.



report abuse
 

Chris Quinto

posted December 3, 2009 at 4:44 pm


Thank you for being able to articulate exactly what I have been thinking about Christmas this year in a much better way than I can. Well put and happy holidays!!



report abuse
 

Serenity

posted December 3, 2009 at 4:49 pm


I agree too – not just with the Christmas issue but with the larger point that we're constantly picking the wrong, wrong fights. Wrong. Or in your much better analogy, we ignore the bigger wounds.



report abuse
 

Carole Turner

posted December 3, 2009 at 4:51 pm


I feel exactly the same way as you, only I couldn't put it into words NEARLY as good as you did. SO, I tweeted links to this :-) Thanks for writing it.



report abuse
 

Joanna

posted December 3, 2009 at 6:42 pm


Thank you for posting a much more articulate version of the rant i'd been getting ready for my blog. I think i better link to yours instead- mine was pretty snarky. How on earth do we expect non-Christians to take us seriously when we finally tell them something important (like the gospel) if we spend the rest of our time yelling about stuff like this? It doesn't at all contribute to our credibility. These kind of this make us look like self interested, petty brats who can't stand not having even the smallest things go our way. And at this time of year when retail staff are often very stressed and busy, shouldn't we be happy that they can muster any kind of friendly greeting at all?



report abuse
 

Alexis Grant

posted December 3, 2009 at 7:05 pm


Ah! What about all the other people who are offended by the Christmas? I'm not one of them but I'm — gasp — friends with some. Would be lovely if the holiday season could be all-inclusive. Thanks for ranting on something worthwhile.



report abuse
 

Rachel H. Evans

posted December 3, 2009 at 7:06 pm


Dude, you are a classy ranter. GREAT post.



report abuse
 

davidpeck

posted December 3, 2009 at 7:25 pm


In the War on Christmas there can be no retreat. We must not rest until it has been completely eradicated from our shores. Oh, wait, wrong blog. Jason, sadly all too true. We spend so much time fussing over things that don't really matter that we have little time for what does. Want to keep Christ in Christmas? Go love some body in his name.



report abuse
 

Al

posted December 3, 2009 at 8:30 pm


No Comment Necessary. Well said.



report abuse
 

Thistlefur

posted December 3, 2009 at 9:19 pm


Thanks for putting into gracious and coherent words the thoughts that have been rambling around my head for several years now! Don't sweat the small stuff when there's REAL stuff to do–like building relationships that allow us to share the meaning of CHRIST's mas…



report abuse
 

Amy B.

posted December 3, 2009 at 9:25 pm


Oh boy, this is mah new favorite blog. For seriously!



report abuse
 

d_w_scott

posted December 4, 2009 at 7:49 am


I started getting these emails from FOTF yesterday. Agh! What what happen if we took all those dollars folks like FOTF were using to finance these campaigns and used them to provide some Christmas goodies like housing, food and medical care to people in need? My guess is, there would be some folks all about the "Christmas Spirit", and nobody would have to get mean.



report abuse
 

huskerjamon

posted December 4, 2009 at 8:13 am


I couldn't agree more. The other thing that annoys me is the stores that prevent their employees from saying Merry Christmas to customers. It's Christmas. It says so on the Calendar. So we can all agree that whether you believe in Christ or not, we'd all like everyone to have a Merry one.



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted December 4, 2009 at 8:16 am


your article seems to have touched a nerve and made its way around the internet. I haven't listened to FoF for years and agree that they tread on thin ice when taking on politics. While I don't disagree on your premise, I have to take issue with your historical argument. First early Christians certainly did celebrate Christ's birth! It was just wrapped up into several feasts at once (his birth, circumcision, visitation of the Magi and Baptism). It wasn't until later that all these feast days were broken up into different dates (Dec. 25, Jan. 1st and Jan. 7th). There was a Feast of Christ's Nativity, just not on Dec. 25th. As to figuring out the date of his birth – you are correct that it was come by a bit artificially, but not because Christians were trying to co-op a Pagan festival. I refer you to this article in Touchstone Mag. http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=16-10-012-vI apologize if this seems a bit sharp – its just a bit of a pet-peeve of mine.Respectfully yours.



report abuse
 

Jason Boyett

posted December 4, 2009 at 8:31 am


Anonymous:Thanks for the link. That's an interesting article, though I'm not sure I'd agree with the author's statement that "…the 'pagan origins of Christmas' is a myth without historical substance." There's plenty of "historical substance" to indicate that lots of the elements of Christmas — from the trees to the date to the practice of gift-giving — have origins in paganism. I don't doubt that there were some elements of the early church that did observe or commemorate the nativity pre-Constantine. But the existence of that evidence doesn't all-of-a-sudden indicate that Christmas is entirely a religious holiday. Nor does it mean that its connection to paganism is just an unsubstantiated myth. That's a pretty big leap. Does it have nothing to do, then, with Roman Saturnalia, or the Scandinavian Yule, or the Persian Mithras? Better to say it has both Christian AND pagan origins…which still gives some validity, I think, to my historical argument.



report abuse
 

The Metzes

posted December 4, 2009 at 10:51 am


Great post . . . thanks for sharing. Where are the Christians who are struck by the words of the prophets and question not where we spend our money at Christmas, but why we spend our money at Christmas and ask if we should spend our money at Christmas. The commercial has triumphed the sacred. Unfortunate. The words of Micah seem near to the heart of God here . . . take your religious feasts away from me, I don't need your "Merry Christmases" and carols . . . thanks for this



report abuse
 

HeatherFH

posted December 4, 2009 at 11:26 am


Well said! Glad to hear this point of view and the comments indicating that others are also not content to have Christ's message hyjacked by myopic, politically motivated people. I am so tired of hearing arguments for the American brand of Christianity as both the moral majority and the persecuted minority, in the same breath. Following Christ is not about culture wars. It is, however, about knowing us by our love. This seems to be a lost message these days in the Church.



report abuse
 

Travis Thompson

posted December 4, 2009 at 11:35 am


I've never read a better summation of the whole "War on Christmas" issue. Thanks, well said.



report abuse
 

Jamie

posted December 4, 2009 at 11:54 am


I live in a large Muslim country. The largest in the world. The malls are decorated with trees and Santa, and the banners say "Merry Christmas", we are even hearing carols, hymns, and what the heck…worship music playing (worship music? in English? who speaks English?)….They've done a remarkable job of keeping the Christ in Christmas, yet it hasn't gotten anyone any closer to knowing Him. They (said religious folk) are seeking acknowledgement for their Savior. Christian peeps, the world is acknowledging your Jesus, but they aren't worshiping Him!



report abuse
 

Jason Boyett

posted December 4, 2009 at 12:44 pm


@Jamie: Thanks SO much for that information. That gives a whole different perspective to the importance of the issue here. Appreciated.



report abuse
 

firefly-124

posted December 4, 2009 at 12:46 pm


Thank you! You have just captured very eloquently some of the very things that have always bothered me about the "stand for Christmas" business.



report abuse
 

Rachel H. Evans

posted December 4, 2009 at 12:59 pm


As I've been thinking about it, I think what bothers me the most about this whole thing is the attitude of entitlement Focus on the Family is fostering. It's such an insult to the VERY REAL persecution faced by the early Christians and by many Christians around the world today when Christians in America take on a persecution complex because "Jingle Bells" gets played over the sound system instead of "Away in a Manger."



report abuse
 

shueytexas

posted December 4, 2009 at 1:12 pm


Jason and all: The original post and comments here all seem so…honest, sensible, and true. Yet we know there are countless people out there who don't agree. I'd love to hear a sincere refutation of the ideas expressed here. How would someone from FotF or its adherents respond to all this?If anyone knows of a blog or something that might have taken on this issue from the other direction – the anti-Jason, if you will – point us there. I'd reallylike to know what the other view is.



report abuse
 

Jason Boyett

posted December 4, 2009 at 1:17 pm


@shuey: You're right. It would be interesting to read a thoughtful defense of the issue from someone who wasn't, you know, Bill O'Reilly or something.FWIW, I've heard privately from a couple of FotF employees who completely agree with the thoughts and comments here. Only they can only agree with us in secret due to their employment situation. Which is a whole 'nother layer of sadness.



report abuse
 

j

posted December 4, 2009 at 1:35 pm


Thanks- re posting on FB. Also really interested in hearing about Jamie's "Muslim" country and their Christmas.



report abuse
 

shueytexas

posted December 4, 2009 at 1:42 pm


Way to go, Jason. Now Dobson is gonna pull a Herod and fire everyone to make sure he gets the rat.



report abuse
 

Rachel H. Evans

posted December 4, 2009 at 2:33 pm


I couldn't resist. Wrote a satirical submission for the "Stand for Christmas" campaign. I don't think it made it through the moderator on their site, but you can read it here: http://rachelheldevans.com/stand-up-christmas.



report abuse
 

Jason (not Boyett)

posted December 4, 2009 at 2:58 pm


I'm glad you gave a shout out to Advent Conspiracy. We're all about that at our church and really hope it catches on more and more each year.As far as your rant, I'm right there with you. Why there is a secular/sacred divide for anything, I will never know.



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted December 4, 2009 at 3:47 pm


Thank you for your reply. I agree that many traditions (trees, wreaths, Yule logs) do have pagan origins. The early church took what was in the culture and Christianized it. They spoke in the language of the people (as it were). The adoption of these traditions, in many instances, didn't happen until well after Constantine. But you weren't speaking of traditions you were speaking of the picking and commemoration of the day. At least that is what I understood. Respectfully.D



report abuse
 

WTJeff

posted December 4, 2009 at 4:47 pm


Jason,Jeff Parsons here. I only have one thing to say…..nniiiiiccccceeee.Now I don't have to have a rant of my own…I can just link here….



report abuse
 

peppermintsmith

posted December 4, 2009 at 4:55 pm


I guess, so far, I'm the only one not in favor of all that you said. I'm not defending FotF, but I do wonder that you take offense at the campaign of an organization that has historically defended and supported the family and many Christian ideals even to the point of saying that they encourage consumerism and insinuating that they ignore child labor issues. So, Christians should ignore the issues that don't matter to YOU but focus on the issues that DO? It's okay to broaden the perspective of others…you accomplished that, I'm sure…but I think that tearing up FotF was about as necessary and good as you describe the "Stand for Christmas" campaign to be! Well, maybe you didn't exactly set out to tear them up but, judging from the comments, you got some fruit for your labors that wouldn't make ME proud.



report abuse
 

clayman

posted December 4, 2009 at 8:44 pm


If it wasn't for Jesus I would give up on Christianity.Thanks for your words.



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted December 4, 2009 at 9:00 pm


noce to hear that rant from a christian. I, for one, am an atheist and hate it when people assume I am christian by wishing me "merry christmas". Especially at stores when I use a credit card and they see that my last name is very jewish. Some stores have the clerk use your name when they say "good bye" like Safeway the clerks always say "Thank you Mr Goldstein". I always just laugh in a clerks face when they say "Merry Christmas, Mr Goldstein" which has happened all too often.



report abuse
 

Sherrie Lord

posted December 4, 2009 at 9:10 pm


I LOVE your blog! Keep it up!



report abuse
 

Tess Mallory

posted December 4, 2009 at 11:44 pm


Great blog, Jason! It's just amazing how we allow ourselves to get dragged into such foolish things just because someone sticks a "Christian" sticker on it. Today I pondered what Jesus would think of seeing a nativity scene on the courthouse lawn. I think He would have a rather quizzical look on his face and then just really laugh. (Can I say that Jesus laughed on your site, Jason?) hugs and MERRY CHRISTMAS, boyo! Tess



report abuse
 

jtgerhardt

posted December 5, 2009 at 12:35 am


Totally agree. Thanks for compellingly articulating what I've felt for so long!



report abuse
 

Pat Pope

posted December 5, 2009 at 8:06 am


What I've really thought about is, how much do we think we really effect change by insisting on a phrase? Wouldn't people be more impressed and influenced by Christian charity? All insisting on a phrase will do is make the Church look like very pushy people who get their way by screaming the loudest. Not a very pretty picture or one that glorifies God.



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted December 5, 2009 at 8:53 am


I'm not getting how Kohl's is either pro-Xmas or anti-Semitic, seeing as how it was founded by a Jew.



report abuse
 

Andy

posted December 5, 2009 at 10:12 am


Jason, Just found your site. Consider me a new fan. Right on, bro. Very well said.



report abuse
 

wezlo

posted December 5, 2009 at 5:27 pm


Agreed, all except point 2. I know that Protestants love to make the connection between the winter solstice and Christmas (particularly the fundamentalist variety, who use the link to mock the celebration in it's entirety). There, is, however, a compelling case that the date of Christmas is actually based on the traditional feast of the annunciation – which was set at March 15th – 9 months' later is…. December 25th.As a Baptist pastor I hear both the "war on Christmas" and "Christmas is really pagan" rants with a fair rate of frequency – which is a shame.Here's a decent link on some ideas why the date of Christmas was set where it was, click here



report abuse
 

Spherical

posted December 5, 2009 at 10:28 pm


Perhaps a post on those who rant over the inane hijinx of those of whom are short a few fries from being a complete happy meal is in order.Nah.Loved the post!



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted December 6, 2009 at 11:41 am


Point 1 "It offends me logically" is completely illogical. Comparing the lack of "Christian" practices of a store to the expectations of the local mosque or the typing skills of a dog misses the point. That point being that the store is attempting to make money off of Christmas sales while at the same time behaving in a way that is offensive to many Christians. The stores do this NOT because they are anti-Christian but because they are bowing to the lords of political correctness. I don't know what Focus on the Family is trying to accomplish with their campaign but I doubt that it is trying to make the stores more "Christian." I think it is to give an indication of the degree to which stores have succumed to political correctness.Point 2 is correct but irrelevant. The celebration is what it is. Christians celebrate Christmas the way that they celebrate it. This celebration came to us through a series of events that most Christians know nothing about. That does not constitute watering down the importance of the celebration. Most Christians ARE, in fact, commemorating the birth of Christ and not the winter solstice. The author asks, "Should we boycott stores that "Take Christ out of Christmas" by watering down the holiday?" And then he opines, "Only if we're OK with Roman pagans picketing us because we watered down Saturnalia by mixing it with Jesus." Sure. Boycott if that is what floats your boat. And, I would be really surprised if ANY Christian would care if pagans picketed Christians for watering down Saturnalia. But, if pagans DID picket Christians, the same political correctness which abhors the actions of Christians wishing that store employees would not fear saying, "Merry Christmas" would probably laud the pagans for picketing the Christians.Point 3. Do you really believe that Focus on the Family is OK with sweatshop labor? Really? Just because they like to see store policies and store employees which stand up to the PC police does not mean they condone the enslavement of children.Point 4: Yes, Focus on the Family is not only in favor of child labor, they promote conspicuous comsumption. Please! We hear this sort of thing all the time. When some conservative expresses the wish that our country could return to our traditional values, some kook responds, "Oh, you want to return to the days when we had separate drinking fountains for black people and white people." We are supposted to be sufficiently put in our place by such stupidity. After all, everyone knows you can't believe in traditional values without also believing in separate facilities for the races.Point 5: I could not agree more! Except that it is based on the thoroughly illogical Point 1.Personally, I think the summation paragraph about the wounded soldier exemplifies the very thing Focus on the Family is being accused of doing. Rather than taking one point of disagreement with Focus on the Family and concentrating so much attention on it, why not wish them a merry Christmas and then get on with the business of combating the lack of reasoning skills being taught by most educators these days, enlightening everyone on the finer points of history and how that relates to modern sociely, oppossing sweatshops, decreasing consumerism, and promoting consistency?



report abuse
 

Jason Boyett

posted December 6, 2009 at 12:46 pm


Dear Anonymous:Thank you for your comment! I appreciate you bringing an opposing viewpoint, especially one so coherent and well thought-out. But I'm curious…Why didn't you sign your name? Why hide behind the "anonymous" moniker? You make good arguments. Stand behind them, please.



report abuse
 

shueytexas

posted December 6, 2009 at 1:49 pm


I was wondering when the term "political correctness" would finally appear.I agree that things can be taken too far. Calling a short person "vertically challenged," for example, is laughable to all thinking people.But you know what "political correctness" often is? Manners. Politeness. Civility.It's realizing that things change, awareness evolves, and we no longer use the word "retard" or "Mongoloid" or "cripple" or "colored."And it's realizing that we occupy a world and a country filled with people who don't believe the exact same thing we believe. So instead of forcing "Merry Christmas" on a Jewish person, we say "Happy Holidays" – a perfectly thoughtful sentiment that's not new, seeing as how Bing Crosby made a nice song out of it many decades ago.Sometimes, being "politically correct" is just being decent, you know?



report abuse
 

Laurinda

posted December 6, 2009 at 2:17 pm


Selah! It's amazing how tradition becomes theology! While I do think Christianity is under fire in the US, it's not up to the Government or Retailers to fight that battle. If we (Christians) lived the principles all would be better.



report abuse
 

shueytexas

posted December 6, 2009 at 2:19 pm


And one more thing. The cashier at Old Navy saying "Happy Holidays" does not preclude you from replying with a hearty "Merry Christmas." Or from saying it anytime, anywhere. To anyone.The "Christmas Warriors" want to influence what other people say to them, while remaining completely free to say what they want.Hopefully the error in thinking is pretty easy to spot.



report abuse
 

Rick G

posted December 7, 2009 at 8:56 am


Spot on.



report abuse
 

macromab

posted December 7, 2009 at 8:24 pm


Ya, I'd say that going back to Constantine pretty much qualifies as a rant.Here's mine: Number one: I am tired of hearing people play the poor card (as in, "Why are we focusing on [insert disliked cause] when we could be caring the poor"?) Give it a rest. Not every legitimate cause has to involve working a soup kitchen. Like the most brilliant man ever elected to public office once said: "you can walk and chew gum at the same time." Two: We all know about the frickin history of Christmas and that's it's not in the Bible. Three: The only thing more stupid, and ultimately irrelevant on a cosmic scale than a "campaign for the word Christmas" is a campaign against the word Christmas. What kind of nitwit corporate executive sits around and says, "hey, I think the word "Christmas" will actually offend Americans during the Christmas season. All 2 percent of them. So, I think our employees need to be trained on not to say that word and we should also spend money to revise our advertising."I say that one pointless, stupid campaign deserves another, so here is one Christian who isn't going to ride the dump on Focus on the Family train this holiday season. (D'oh!)



report abuse
 

Brooke Chao

posted December 7, 2009 at 8:35 pm


Amen, brother, Amen! I've just been "ranting" about the same things lately. It's just nuts. Christ is not served by us being pushy, rude and demanding our own way – especially in light if I Corinthians 13 and I Peter 3:15. If only we'd all just "set apart Christ in your own hearts" and celebrate our Saviors birth with "gentleness and respect" I think the Lord would be so much more glorified, than by our demanding that everyone, be they Christian or not, recognize and give our holiday top billing.



report abuse
 

macromab

posted December 7, 2009 at 10:40 pm


After examining my Christmas Personality Test, I've diagnosed Jason as a possible Merry Melancholy with latent anti-pro-Christmas activist tendencies. Nothwithstanding my earlier post, I'm actually bi-polar: a Pro-Christmas Activist with unresolved Anti-Pro-Christmas Activist sympathies.



report abuse
 

Leah

posted December 8, 2009 at 12:28 am


The only time I am offended by people/society/retailers' use of Christmas is when they put "Xmas" everywhere. It's specifically taking the Christ out of Christmas. I can understand people being upset by the use of "Happy Holidays" as opposed to "Merry Christmas" but in Australia most people say "Merry Christmas" anyway. "Happy Holidays" is considered an american phrase.And I wouldn't penalise a specific store for its specific christmas greetings or decorations; it's something that annoys me about society in general. They have taken a Christian holiday and want to keep the bits that suit them and push under the carpet the bits that don't. Sure, a Muslim shouldn't expect me to pray 5 times a day towards Mecca, but I'm not trying to make one of their religious festivals less Muslim.Yes, the church (or Constantine, at any rate) might have used another pre-existing holiday as a foundation for their new holiday, but (to the best of my knowledge) that's kind of like how Jews celebrate Hannukah and Christians (and the rest of society) celebrate Christmas on the same day/during the same season. Neither party is trying to 'hijack' the other celebration like secular society tries to 'hijack' Christmas.



report abuse
 

Leah

posted December 8, 2009 at 12:41 am


regarding Jamie's comment: while we should be concerned with people worshipping Jesus, I do not think that is what FOTF and similar people are going for with the Christmas thing. They – or at least I – just want people to acknowledge that this is a Christmas festival they are celebrating and it involves Jesus. And I want to applaud the people/organisations in your country that are doing so.If I was celebrating a Muslim or Jewish festival, I wouldn't try to take the Muslim or Jewish aspects out of it and pretend it's a secular celebration.



report abuse
 

Ken

posted December 8, 2009 at 7:58 am


@Leah – just wanted to let you know that "Xmas" isn't really supposed to be a removal of Christ – it's simply using a symbol with centuries of history behind it – I remember a pastor friend always abbreviating the word "Christian" as "Xian" – there's several good pieces about this, I'll just point to good old Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xmas#Usage_of_X_for_Christ_in_ancient_languagesI hope this is helpful.



report abuse
 

Jason Boyett

posted December 8, 2009 at 9:03 am


@Leah: I was going to say the same thing, but Ken beat me to it. X is an ancient abbreviation for Christ, going back to the Middle Ages (according to some historians) or even to the first years of the Church (according to others). Xmas is not a modern "removal of Christ" but a centuries-old, Christ-honoring tradition.Another good resource: http://www.cresourcei.org/symbols/xmasorigin.html



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted December 8, 2009 at 3:14 pm


Why isn't FOTF more concern with how a clerk greets a customer (in secular stores no less) then the time honored pagan tradition of decorating Christmass trees in direct violation of Jeremiah 10:2-4?"Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not." (KJV).Your rant is right on btw. Have a Fabulous/Merry/Happy/Joyous Festivous/Christmas/Chanukah/Kwanza/Solstice or whatever floats your boat. :)- Fastthumbs



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted December 9, 2009 at 10:32 am


Jason, you are doing just what you rant about in other posts. You are a Christian fighting with another Christian. Leave FOTF alone. You haven't lived long enough to understand the culture war up close. Rant back in 20 years.



report abuse
 

Jason Boyett

posted December 9, 2009 at 10:46 am


Dear Anonymous: If ranting is wrong when you're 35, what makes it right when you're 55?And if it's wrong to call another Christian to account, how do you justify your comment toward me? If I should leave FOTF alone even though we disagree, then by that logic you should leave ME alone, too.But I'm not asking you to do that. I like you, Anonymous. You're one of my most frequent commenters! Please stick around.



report abuse
 

Al

posted December 9, 2009 at 10:54 am


Ranting is what the prophets did, and are still supposed to do. We need to be called to account. Yeah, we need to be able to take it as well as give it, but that doesn't mean we can't give it.35? Of course you have enough years of experience to give you lots to rant about. And you have enough years left to see things change because of it. At least I hope that our ranting brings about some changes.



report abuse
 

Parker Fitzgerald

posted December 9, 2009 at 6:42 pm


I disagree that you aren't old enough. Paul didn't tell Timothy to GTFO and come back in 20 years.I've worked closely with FOTF a number of times doing contract work and I couldn't agree more with you, mah friend. Dobson's perennial problem is being sidetracked like Dug from Up.SQUIRREL!Daley's working to turn the company's direction, but with a boat load of 60+ year-olds on the board, that's a really tall order. They're still pissed that ankle-length skirts aren't the status quo.PS – TrueU is defunct? Since when? I thought that it was the 'sequel' to Truth Project?



report abuse
 

Parker Fitzgerald

posted December 9, 2009 at 6:42 pm


I disagree that you aren't old enough. Paul didn't tell Timothy to GTFO and come back in 20 years.I've worked closely with FOTF a number of times doing contract work and I couldn't agree more with you, mah friend. Dobson's perennial problem is being sidetracked like Dug from Up.SQUIRREL!Daley's working to turn the company's direction, but with a boat load of 60+ year-olds on the board, that's a really tall order. They're still pissed that ankle-length skirts aren't the status quo.PS – TrueU is defunct? Since when? I thought that it was the 'sequel' to Truth Project?



report abuse
 

Jason Boyett

posted December 10, 2009 at 6:19 am


@parker:Yes, TrueU is the sequel to the Truth Project, as I understand it. So it still exists in some fashion, at least by name. But TrueU the online magazine I used to write for doesn't really exist anymore.



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted December 14, 2009 at 12:58 pm


Jer 10:2-4Thus says the LORD: Learn not the way of the heathens, nor be dismayed at the signs of the heavens because the nations are dismayed at them, for the customs of the peoples are vanity. A tree from the forest is cut down and worked with an axe by the hands of a craftsman. They decorate it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so that it cannot move.



report abuse
 

dle

posted December 15, 2009 at 5:55 pm


Oh, bitter irony: Herb Kohl, owner of Kohl's, is one of the most liberal of all U.S. senators and endorses nearly every political stance that conservative Christians find abhorrent. In fact, the Christian Coalition awarded Kohl the dreaded "0%" rating."Merry Christmas, Kohl's shoppers! And thank you supporting papa Herb in his quest to build on Roe v. Wade, establish government-run healthcare, and bring European-style socialism to the good ol' U.S. of A."Remember Nomad in the classic "Star Trek" episode? Now imagine Christian culture warriors experiencing the same explosive logical finale.



report abuse
 

Lassie

posted December 19, 2009 at 6:36 pm


I agree; I love it!! "Christ" never was in Christmas!! The Greek word "christ" from the root "chrio" actually means "drugged and whitewashed"; "chrio" is only used once in the Scriptures, and that is in the Letter to the Laodiceans for "medicinal eye ointment." "God's Name and titles were never spelled out in the Greek manuscripts for the first 300 years; PLACEHOLDERS were used to refer the reader back to the Hebrew Scriptures for the full meaning; Greek letters did not contain the sounds to pronounce "Yahushua." He is the "Way"; what is the "Way"? The "Way" is the 7-step path to God's home. God said to keep His 7 "Called-out assemblies" forever: Passover, Unleavened Bread, FirstFruits, Pentecost, Feast of Trumpets, Yom Kippur, and the Feast of Tabernalces. You can figure out that Yahushua was actually born on the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles and He was circumcised on the eighth day of Tabernacles. In the Millenium, we will all be required to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles or we will have no rain!! Constantine created "christmas". Don't take my word for it, look it up!



report abuse
 

Mommy L

posted December 22, 2009 at 12:42 pm


Your blog was PERFECT! I am sick and tired of the so-called "war on Christmas". Re: the Old Navy incident listed above–I yearn for the good ol' days when "merry Christmas" and "happy holidays" were used as warm, sincere holiday greetings. Nowadays, they're fighting words. Sheesh.BTW, most of the people in stores that I've seen lately have said, "Have a good day" (or "evening"). That's fine with me.



report abuse
 

Jonathan

posted December 29, 2009 at 5:54 pm


I generally agree with the sentiments of your post but I do want to muddy the waters just a little- while FotF's stand for Christmas is definitely a misguided attempt to win something back that was never there- a Christian America- what we must acknowledge is that in many companies employees are forbidden to say Merry Christmas to customers. When people are defined as employees and customers we offend a God who created us all-everyone of us, in His image. Every human being has an instinctive desire, however marred and covered up by sin, to know their God and Christmas is a time of celebration when God in a way unparalleled in human history made Himself known. While monitoring stores to see which ones are most Christmassy is a misplaced effort to redeem consumerism-it does unintentionally expose a larger problem-the forced and unnatural seperation of people and faith within the workplace. I wonder if it is even constitutional for an employer to tell their employees what they are and are not allowed to say if it transcends mere social etiquette and heads into one's religious beliefs. Forbidding Christians who work for you from saying Merry Christmas to customers should not go unnoticed in your rant and it should temper, just a little, your vitriol toward FotF. While I certainly am no fan of the organization as a whole, I do think Christians ought to think twice about purchasing goods from a corporation where it is clear the employees have been instructed not to say Merry Christmas-not so much for Jesus but for the Constitution. While I understand retailers want to be sensitive to customers-if we naively go along with their reasoning for why they want their employees not to say Merry Christmas we are also going along with a world view that denies the biblical claim that all of us are made in the image of God and at our most basic level crave a relationship with Him. If corporations and retailers truly wish to stay out of the religious question at Christmas they should simply not instruct their employees any which way. Anyone who writes back saying that when a person is on the clock they belong to that company and the company has every right to tell them what to say should question their beliefs and their values. A human being's rights guaranteed to Americans in the Bill of Rights cannot be abridged by the government and certainly not by a corporation.



report abuse
 

Rick Garner

posted January 2, 2010 at 1:52 am


Expanding on this a bit further with the Reverse Discrimination of Christmas: http://richardtgarner.blogspot.com/2010/01/reverse-discrimination-of-christmas.htmlDude, we used the same image…weird. :)



report abuse
 

Kristian

posted January 6, 2010 at 9:37 pm


I'm one of those people – an evil, Christmas-eating atheist monster – who are supposed to be offended by the name of the holiday. Yet, I can't seem to be bothered by it. On the contrary, I happily celebrate Christmas with my family, complete with bunch of Christian, Nordic and Roman traditions that generally seem to go with the holiday, and we don't really give a rat's arse on where the traditions originate from.We have Christmas tree – with a star on top (we also own an angel for the same job, but it seemed a bit… rude to effectively stick a spruce up her butt), we sing Christmas carols (both religious and Santalicious), we give presents (many of them self-made, but as always, there's still room for improvement there), we eat traditional Christmas foods (of our respective cultures), we have enough Christmas lights to justify the need for a new Nuclear Power Plant in our province (but we're sorry for it, and consider LED alternatives for this year), we have Father Christmas coming for a visit, and quite possibly many, many other traditions that are so obvious to me that I can't even name them.We let our kids participate in school Christmas shows, which, in my opinion, perhaps go slightly overboard with their Jesusity and don't have enough red and green and jolly Santa, but, as we're living in highly Christian part of the world, I don't think it's harmful for them to learn about the traditions and beliefs of the majority. We explain what Christmas is about for Christians, explain that mommy and daddy don't believe that way, but there's nothing wrong in believing in such things.For us, Christmas is about jolly good time with the family.There have been times when I've been scolded for what we do – I've been told I have NO RIGHT to STEAL Christmas from True Believers(trademark goes here, I think). Some time ago I tried to go through the whole explanation about how many Christian Christmas traditions have roots in pagan cultures (especially many traditions in the Nordic countries, where I'm originally from). The whole "It's called CHRIST-mas for a reason!" seemed like a moot point, because in my native language (and in all Nordic languages) the word for Christmas (Joulu, Jul) is a variation of Yule and pre-dates Christianity. Of course, arguing any of that was completely pointless. :)So, I guess I wage a war on Christmas by celebrating it while leaving the (Christian) meanings of it out of the equation. Perhaps I'm therefore even more dangerous Enemy Combatant than those who openly oppose even the word for it?All that being said, I can't help but to find sympathy for both extreme camps. I understand that it can be irritating and scary to have something secular "thrown" at your face when you're supposed to be living in a country where vast majority believes like you do. And I understand that, especially down in the US, a committed, passionate atheist can find the surrounding religious pollution hard to swallow.



report abuse
 

Denise Dynes

posted February 8, 2010 at 4:52 pm


Amen and amen!



report abuse
 

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

More blogs to enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting O Me Of Little Faith. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Red Letters with Tom Davis Recent prayer post on Prayables Most Recent Inspiration blog post Happy Reading!

posted 2:25:22pm Aug. 27, 2012 | read full post »

Farewell, O Me of Little Faith
You said you had a big announcement coming today. What is it? The announcement is this: Right now you are reading the final post on this blog. Ever. Ever? Ever. So you're shutting this blog down? Well, I'm going to stop writing any new posts for it. But the blog will still be here. Th

posted 6:11:49am Jun. 01, 2011 | read full post »

My Introvert Interview
On Monday, author Adam McHugh delivered a guest post about the "snarling 8-headed monster" of the writing process. Today I return the favor -- sort of -- via an interview at his blog, Introverted Church. We talk about how my introverted personality has impacted my faith and doubt, and how the extrov

posted 3:05:36pm May. 25, 2011 | read full post »

Harold Camping: "Invisible Judgment Day"
When the rapture didn't occur as predicted on May 21, 2011, Harold Camping had a few options. Here is how he could have responded to the failed prediction, in descending levels of crazy: 1. He could announce that he was wrong. This is the most reasonable option and was therefore unexpected. I wou

posted 9:06:24am May. 24, 2011 | read full post »

The Phases of Writing (Adam McHugh)
If you've ever felt out of place among all the exciting, expressive, emotional enthusiasm of a contemporary church service...or an evangelist's demands that you need to constantly be sharing your faith boldly to strangers...if it simply wipes you out to be surrounded by people all the time,  then y

posted 7:46:00am May. 23, 2011 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.