This year, do your part to change public opinion about celebrating Christmas.
Recently, in teaching about the Jewish feasts, John Hagee suggested that Jesus was born in late September or early October, around the time of the Feast of Tabernacles, rather than on December 25, the date on which we traditionally celebrate His birth. Hagee developed a credible argument for his claim based on the timing of the birth of John the Baptist, who arrived on the scene shortly before Jesus.
The word we use to refer to Jesus’ birth date came from the term “Christ’s Mass,” eventually shortened to “Christmas,” which was probably the name of a celebration initiated by the early church to compete with the pagan holiday that signaled the beginning of winter. Whether we celebrate it on December 25 or a more historically accurate date, Christmas has become a time when the world stops to acknowledge the miracle of God’s becoming man in the form of a baby born to a virgin in Bethlehem.
For many people, it is the happiest time of the year, not only because of the spiritual significance but also because of the special traditions, memories, love and good will that attend it.
So why is it that in our culture today there is an attempt to snuff out every aspect of the holiday that reflects its spiritual origins? It’s OK to decorate our homes with glittering evergreen trees and send out greeting cards with cheerful little snowmen on them, but we can’t put Nativity sets in public view or even wish someone “Merry Christmas!” without inciting public criticism.
We’ve seen the demise of Christian values in the secular media, in the political arena and in the educational system. Now in the day-to-day workplace, it’s considered politically incorrect to acknowledge the Savior’s birth with a friendly greeting.
Thankfully sane voices are rising in the secular media. John Gibson, a commentator on the Fox News Channel, wrote a book titled The War on Christmas (Sentinel) in which he documents what he calls “the liberal plot to ban the sacred Christian holiday.”
Now it’s time for Christians to stand up and say enough is enough.
I encourage our half-million readers to get involved. One of the best ways is to participate in the Liberty Counsel’s “Help Save Christmas” program.
You can find out more by going to www.helpsavechristmas.org and ordering a Help Save Christmas action pack, which includes two legal memoranda about public Christmas observances that will teach you how to defend Christmas and help you educate government officials, teachers, parents, students, private business owners, employees and others in the legality of celebrating the holiday. The action pack also includes an “I Love CHRISTmas” button, bumper stickers and other items to promote Christmas.
Last year I encouraged churches to take the lead in decorating for Christmas. That’s because we can’t expect city hall to do it. Government employees must by law add “secular” elements to make their holiday displays “seasonal.” But as private citizens we still have the freedom to decorate our homes and businesses and the lawns in front of our churches.
Our Web site (www.charismamag.com/strang) has more information about what Hagee said regarding the date of Jesus’ birth, as well as additional details about Gibson’s book and the Help Save Christmas campaign. It also has sample letters you can use to write your newspaper and express your support for public Christmas displays and celebrations, and a blog to tell you what’s happening around the country.
Whatever you do, do something. Be a part of changing public opinion on the issue of celebrating Christmas. It isn’t as important an issue as the sanctity of human life or traditional values. But it’s a nonpolitical way to speak up for the Christian position and do your part to reverse the secularization of America.
Finally, remember Christ in your giving this Christmas. As I have in years past, I invite you to support the ministries of our nonprofit partner, Christian Life Missions (P.O. Box 952248, Lake Mary, FL 32795-2248), or a local charity or church. Remember during this time when we celebrate Jesus’ birth, that Jesus said: “‘Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me'” (Matt. 25:40, NKJV).
Stephen Strang is the founder and publisher of Charisma. To read past columns in Charisma by Stephen Strang, log on at www.charismamag.com/strang.