This place matters

This place matters

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Of course you realize this means war

There's a war on Christmas; Fox News says it so it must be true. When a business says happy holidays instead of merry Christmas, it's clearly because they hate Jesus, and not because they're trying to be inclusive (and welcoming and being kind to all people is so the opposite of the Christmas spirit). 
The fact is, Christmas lovers, you are not persecuted warriors because you're not fighting anybody. 95% of Americans celebrate Christmas. 95%. 88% of folks have no problem with businesses saying Merry Christmas, with the remaining 12 saying only that they prefer "happy holidays". 82% of all Americans view Christmas as a religious holiday, with 62% attending religious services on Christmas, 65% displaying religious decorations in their homes, and 78% saying that they think it's important to use the holiday as a time to reflect on the birth of Christ. In fact, Americans are far more likely to be offended by being wished "happy holidays" than those who are offended by "merry Christmas." I could find no research indicating that a statistically significant number of Americans want to bring down Christmas - the vast majority of folks who don't celebrate Christmas don't declare any desire to stop others from doing so.
But I think that actually, there is a different kind of war on Christmas. A war between greed and generosity, a war between consumerism and kindness, a war between words and actions. Christ says, "When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray... on street corners so that others may see them." And yet we have this douchenozzle literally standing on a street corner shouting about the lack of effing snowflakes on his Starbucks cup being an assault on Christmas.*

See, Christmas is supposed to celebrate the birth of Christ, a leader who hated greed and preached against lavish displays of wealth. Christ says, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, for where your treasure is, there also will your heart be... you cannot serve God and wealth." (Matthew 6:19 and 24). Yet corporations want us to celebrate Christmas by doing exactly that - piling more treasures and trinkets onto all that we already have. I think that if there is a war on Christmas, it is a war between our generosity toward those in need and greed for ourselves.
At Christmas, we all give lip service to peace on earth and good will toward men, but how many of us actually do anything to help the people who need it most at Christmas? Jesus says, "If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?" If the faithful scream and yell about businesses failing to recognize their faith in exactly the right way, but do not share their wealth with those in need, they truly are the clanging cymbals Paul spoke of in his first letter to the Corinthians. 

You want to truly fight for your Christian values this Christmas? Refuse to participate in the orgy of greed that is Black Friday. 
Boycott jewelers who sell conflict diamonds and consider lavish gifts to charity instead of lavish displays of wealth. 
Want to avoid supporting businesses that openly defy your Christian values? Boycott Nestle USA and other chocolate manufacturers who use forced child labor and force employees around the globe to work unsafe conditions for terrible pay.
Want to fight companies that don't reflect your Christian values? Don't worry about who does and doesn't wish you a merry Christmas, and instead worry about who does and doesn't force workers to do their jobs in horrible and unsafe conditions. Boycott H&M for the preventable deaths caused by terrible conditions in their suppliers' factories. Boycott Victoria's Secret for buying from suppliers that beat their workers and force children into picking cotton. Boycott Disney for using suppliers who pay pennies to child laborers and force workers to do their jobs under deadly conditions. 
The real threat to your Christian values isn't the design on a damn paper cup, it's greed, abuse, neglect, and hatefulness. You want to keep the Christ in Christmas? Behave a little more like Christ this Christmas. Give a little more and take a little less. Be kinder. Be more compassionate, more conscientious, more loving, less angry. Give more and preach less. Love one another as Christ has loved you.
From "It Came Upon the Midnight Clear" by Edmund Hamilton

*Other bible verses I could have used here: "But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, 'You good-for-nothing,' shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, 'You fool,' shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell." (Matthew 5:22). "If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal." (1 Corinthians 13:1). "Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed." (Romans 2:1-5).

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