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A Tough Season for Believers
Ross Douthat, columnist for the New York Times, suggests that Christmastime is, in fact, a “Tough Season for Believers.” Here’s how his recent Op-Ed Column in the Times begins:
Christmas is hard for everyone. But it’s particularly hard for people who actually believe in it.
In a sense, of course, there’s no better time to be a Christian than the
first 25 days of December. But this is also the season when American
Christians can feel most embattled. Their piety is overshadowed by
materialist ticky-tack. Their great feast is compromised by
Christmukkwanzaa multiculturalism. And the once-a-year churchgoers
crowding the pews beside them are a reminder of how many Americans
regard religion as just another form of midwinter entertainment, wedged
in between “The Nutcracker” and “Miracle on 34th Street.”
Many Skip Christmas’ Religious Aspect
USA Today write Cathy Lynn Grossman reports on the results of two surveys that show, among other things, how many Americans who celebrate Christmas do not seem to care about its religious meaning. Here’s how the article begins:
Christmas 2010 is a whole lotta jingle and not so much Jesus.
Two new surveys find more than nine in 10
Americans celebrate the holiday — even if they’re atheists, agnostics or
believers in non-Christian faiths such as Judaism and Islam.
A closer look at Christmas activities reveals
what may be the first measurement of an “alarming” gap between belief
and behavior, says Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, a
Nashville-based Christian research organization.
One piece of evidence for the dwindling interest in the religious aspects of Christmas is the fact that only 47% of people plan on attending church services on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
How should Christians respond to this data? I expect that many will lament and whine. We Christians seem particularly good at complaining about the increasing secularization of our culture. But I think we should seize the opportunity before us with wisdom and enthusiasm. After all, almost half of America will be in church for special services. This is an almost unprecedented chance to share the love and truth of Christ with millions who ordinarily wouldn’t darken the door of a church.
But we must remember that what we say and do at Christmastime must be matched by a consistent life of service and truthfulness. USA Today quotes Pastor John Lindell of James River Assembly in Ozark, MO: “We believers put Christ in Christmas by how we care for others and give
people chances to change their lives. It isn’t what we do in
December, it’s what we do the other 11 months of the year that
matters.” Amen to that!
The Digital Story of the Nativity
If all of this heavy thinking about Christmas has got you down, check out this short video on YouTube. It is, indeed, the digital story of the birth of Jesus. Watch this and you’ll be glad the Savior was born 2,000 years ago rather than today!