I’m weary of hearing about the “war on Christmas” or people offended that some store clerk said “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” as we went into debt to purchase more stuff we can’t afford for people who don’t need it.
It all comes back to this: why are we surprised when lost people act like lost people? Or in this case, why are we surprised that a pagan culture acts pagan?
We live in a culture that is obsessed with entertainment and materialism. Is it any wonder, then, that they would try to grab the Christmas season and run with it in a way that accentuates their own pagan tendencies? It’s not up to pagans to remind us of the real “reason for the season.” It is up to the church to lift high the banner of Christ and to remind others that Christmas matters because of Jesus. That’s not the job of the cashier at WalMart – it’s my job, and yours.
I don’t doubt that political correctness has caused governments and corporations to go overboard in their quest to cleanse Christmas of its religious basis and turn it into a celebration of sentiment and sales. I agree that it is foolish to ban manger scenes and Christmas carols from the public square. But why is it surprising that an increasingly secular culture engages in such foolishness?
Will Willimon has observed, “The culture is giving the church notice that no longer will it do the church’s job. So the courthouse will not tell the church’s story; the church must tell its story. And we must do it better than the government ever could. So instead of complaining that the government will not do our job, let’s seize the opportunity, and do it to the glory of God.”
So this Christmas season, let’s not expect others to tell the story of the baby laid in the manger. Let’s celebrate the privilege we have of sharing that good news – let’s tell it, sing it, and proclaim it wherever we go.
Merry Christmas! Christ is born!
Michael Duduit is founding Dean of the College of Christian Studies and the Clamp Divinity School at Anderson University. He also serves as Professor of Christian Ministry. He is the founder and still serves as Executive Editor of Preaching magazine, one of the nation’s premier publications for pastors. His email newsletter, Preaching Now, is read each week by more than 40,000 pastors and church leaders in the U.S. and around the world. He is founder and director of the National Conference on Preaching and the International Congress on Preaching. He has been a pastor and associate pastor, has served a number of churches as interim pastor, and speaks regularly for churches, colleges and conferences. He is author and editor of several books, including the Handbook of Contemporary Preaching, Joy in Ministry: Messages from Second Corinthians, Preaching with Power: Dynamic Insights from Twenty Top Communicators and Communicate With Power.