A couple of years ago, I wrote a post called Battleground: Christmas where I shared my feelings over “the war on Christmas.” While you should go back and read the post, the short end of it is this: Relax Christians! We cannot force our views, our traditions, our beliefs on those who don’t believe them or have interest in them.
It is that time of year again where we hear about the war on Christmas. About people who are upset when the clerk at the store says “Happy Holidays” or when the school Christmas Concert is changed to a “Holiday Concert.” It’s the time of year for Bill O’Reilly and FOXNews to make something out of nothing.
But there is a real war on Christmas that is happening right now. Here in America, Christians worry about Christ being removed from Christmas when people say “Happy Holidays”- but in other parts of the world, the danger is that Christians are being systematically eliminated. In the November issue of Christianity Today, Philip Jenkins wrote the cover story about whether this was the end for Mideast Christians. In the midst of the article he writes,
“It is obscene to complain about a “war on Christmas” in the United States when there are Syrian cities without Christians to commemorate their holy days at all for the first time in 1,900 years. That’s an authentic war on Christmas.”
In this season of Christmas when we remember and celebrate the birth of our Savior, our brothers and sisters are facing persecution, displacement into refugee camps, and even death. Their Christmas gatherings, most likely in secret if they happen at all, will take place at great risk. So the next time you get a little defensive over someone saying “Happy Holidays,” rather than getting upset take time to pray for our Christian brothers and sisters who are persecuted. Pray for them, remembering that at the birth of Jesus 2000 years ago, that there was a systemic persecution trying to rid the land of the Christ-child. Pray that they might be strengthened in the face of adversity. Pray that God would be present with them. Pray for those who persecute that they might come to know the transformational love of God through Jesus Christ.