Friday, December 24, 2004

Another nice commentary on (bleep)mas.

The Wall Street Journal had a nice commentary today on the state of Christmas, including some reasons why we are more deeply religious here in America than they are in Europe where there was a national church to rebel against. And, I believe, a very accurate reason why evangelical churches are still able to thrive while mainline protestant churches are in a freefall:

"The more skilled the ministers and the more demanding the benefit of becoming an adherent, the more people join them. As a result, mainline Protestant churches, lacking both evangelical zeal and a deeply meaningful religion, have lost the struggle for members to fundamentalist churches that recruit members and expect a lot of them."

I'm sure in many mainline churches, you might hear "Happy Holidays" and "Seasons Greetings" more often than "Merry Christmas." I saw a presbyterian church with a sign touting its "Children's X-Mas Program." The last place you should see the word Christ replaced with an X is on a church, even to save space on a sign.

As a businessman myself, I can relate to the conundram of businesses who don't know how to greet people in this overly sensitized country we live in. When I am signing off on emails to clients--most of whom I don't know on a personal level--I really don't know if they are Christians, Jews, Muslims, or atheists. How should I greet them other than "Happy Holidays" when there are so many holidays to choose from and most people are celebrating at least one of them. That said, if I'm a retailer selling Christmas presents (because, c'mon, that's what the vast majority of people are doing!), I'm going to have great big banners wishing everyone a Merry Christmas!

How did Jesus become so offensive? Even if you don't believe he was the living, breathing Son of God, you have to appreciate his teachings and compassion. Yet look at the uproar over "The Passion of the Christ" that detailed his death, and the season of Christmas that heralds His birth.

The only reason I can think of that causes Jesus and Christianity to be so offensive is that He is the legitimate enemy of the devil himself. This fact gives me even greater confidence in my faith. To see such nastiness and hatred toward the One who talked of love and peace and the path to salvation, while other "prophets" and religious leaders who spoke of similar things aren't vilified at all, tells me that Jesus is truly who He said He was. Satan wouldn't make such a fuss over an ordinary man with a nice philosophy. What a wonderful Christmas message!

Merry Christmas!


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