Quartz Hill School of Theology

Old Diatribe

Merry Christmas

by R.P. Nettelhorst

        Increasingly, Christmas displays are being removed from government owned buildings. For instance the Fox News channel reported that the City Manager of Eugene Oregon, Jim Johnson banned all Christmas trees and other "religious-themed" holiday displays from almost all city-owned property, including fire stations. Many Christians were outraged over this, and he eventually relented a little and allowed fire fighters to set up Christmas trees for themselves on Christmas Eve and Christmas day.
       I'm not sure why Christians should be outraged over this increasing tendency of bureaucratic officials to remove Christmas lights and trees and tinsel from government owned buildings. Why should Christians be bothered when a public school forces parents to remove the Christmas lights they had strung about the building? After all, the first amendment is pretty clear on the fact that the government is not allowed to give special treatment to a given religion.
       For years Christians have worried about the excessive commercialization of the December 25th holiday, its tendency to disappear into a time of gift giving and getting, tinsel and trees, and a jolly red-suited obese guy. Jesus is the reason for the season, we Christians have chanted. And so, I would point out, that only when Christmas was safely neutered and simply about red and green decorations could it be safely placed inside government structures. As soon as Christmas became what it actually is, a celebration of Jesus' birth, it became dangerous.
       Christians should rejoice in this removal of Christmas ornamentation from government centers. It means that we've won the argument. People finally recognize the true significance of Christmas. Linus' words from the Charlie Brown Christmas TV special have finally reached the hearts and minds of the American public: the true meaning of Christmas is that Jesus came to the world to die for its sins.
       So this is a good thing. Why would we want to argue that Christmas is cultural and should be permitted in the government's house? Why would we ever want to de-Christianize Christmas? It is not a secular holiday. It is not about gift giving. It is about Jesus. Period. The ACLU has been listening and they believe what we've been saying all these years. Praise God! This is a good thing.


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