Lampooning the so–called War On Christmas

Is it really the responsibility of stores and retailers to promote Christ?

Yme Woensdregt

It’s not even Advent yet, but the annual silliness about the so–called “war on Christmas” has already begun. This war seems to consist of such nefarious practices as people saying “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas”.

At least two organizations have posted their “Naughty and Nice” lists. Both Liberty Counsel and the American Family Association list stores which publicly mention Christmas (nice) or not (naughty). The purpose of this list is to encourage Christians to shop at stores that wish them a Merry Christmas and boycott the rest.

Rather than reaching out in love with the good news of healing and grace and compassion which is at the heart of the Christian gospel, they are acting as if they have to circle the wagons in the face of what they perceive as a threat. It makes me wonder how strong their Christian identity really is. Do they really want Christians to form a “holy huddle” or live in a Christian ghetto which they organize for themselves?

In my opinion, this goes against one of the most important goals of Christian faith. Followers of Jesus are called to be in the world, reaching out to other folks, living out God’s gospel values, and leavening life with their presence. Instead, these organizations try to encourage Christians to surround themselves only with other Christians, exchanging Christian greetings with one another. As a result, they ignore the world which the Bible clearly says “God loved” so much.

It’s not the world that censors their so–called right to say ‘Merry Christmas’. They censor themselves as they gather only with like–minded people, and shop only in stores which share their beliefs and boycott other stores.

But is it really the responsibility of stores and retailers to promote Christ? I don’t believe it is. That is the work of those who profess to follow Jesus.

This list, problematic as it may be, is not nearly as bad as the email I have received from over half a dozen people with a link to one of the silliest songs I have ever heard in my life. It features Carrie Rinderer and the American Christian Life United Choir, neither of which I’ve heard of before.

The song begins, “If you don’t see ‘Merry Christmas’ in the window, No! You don’t go in that store. If you don’t see ‘Merry Christmas’ in the window, Yes! You walk right by that door.”

The song continues to tell Christians to avoid any store that doesn’t proclaim the message that the only reason for the season is the birth of Jesus.

While they may see this as persecution, I fail to see how hearing someone say ‘Happy Holidays’ is oppressive. By the same token, I’m not quite clear on how anyone can force someone else to say something they don’t wish to say.

The song gets sillier. I can’t help but giggle when, in the middle of this song about the birth of Jesus, Ms. Rinderer proclaims a list of “What would be missing, now let’s see, if not for Christ’s nativity”.

The first thing on the list is “No ‘Silent Night’ or ‘First Noel’.” Fair enough. Were it not for the birth, there would be no carols.

The song continues with an irony I find to be hilarious, “No Santa’s sleigh or Jingle Bells, No star atop the Christmas tree, No special day for family, No bells that ring for angels’ wings, No dolls and trains that Santa brings.”

The list goes on to include Scrooge, Tiny Tim, Christmas lights, stockings, Santa (again), and the climax of the list, “No partridge in a pear rum pa pum pum.”

On the one hand, she wants to promote a Christmas that is only about Christ. On the other hand, the things she values and would miss are the very commercial things about which she complains — Santa … and bells … and lights … and trees loaded with presents, and other things which would make for a happy holiday.

Seriously? This kind of nonsense is profoundly anti–Christian.

I would hope that anyone who is a Christian and takes his or her faith seriously would oppose it. We are called not to withdraw from the world, but to be in it as people who live with compassion, grace and justice.

And maybe, perhaps someone should warn Liberty Counsel and the American Family Association that they might just be on Jesus’ “Naughty List”.

Yme Woensdregt is Pastor at Christ Church Anglican in Cranbrook

Just Posted

It happened this week in Cranbrook: 1912

Aug. 11 - 17: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the newspapers at the Cranbrook History Centre and Archives

Kootenay Orienteering Championships coming to Kimberley, Cranbrook

The championships take place from September 6 to 8, 2019.

Local rowing club comes up big at Nelson Sprints Regatta

The Rockies Rowing Club saw multiple members have positive results at the annual regatta

City gets $100K grant for improving National Disaster Mitigation Program

The City of Cranbrook successfully applied for and has been awarded a… Continue reading

Family on way to a wedding when girl, 4, killed in crash near Creston

The Alberta family was travelling through B.C. for a wedding when their RV was in a serious collision

VIDEO: Langley Ribfest met with protesters

Groups that oppose the event for various reasons plan to be on site each of the three days.

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

One-hundred-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died during the mission

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

‘I’m just absolutely disgusted’: Husband furious after B.C. Mountie’s killer gets day parole

Kenneth Fenton was sentenced to prison after he fatally struck Const. Sarah Beckett’s cruiser

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

Helicopter-riding dog Mr. Bentley now featured on cans of new B.C.-made beer

Partial proceeds from every pack go to Children’s Wish

PHOTOS: Weapons seized at Portland right-wing rally, counterprotests

Not all who gathered Saturday were with right-wing groups or antifa

Discussion on grief and loss between Stephen Colbert, Anderson Cooper goes viral

The exchange includes emotional question from Cooper, and outlook on grief as a child

Toronto activist calling on federal parties to nominate more black candidates

Fewer than 20 black Canadians have been nominated so far, including some Liberal MPs seeking re-election

Most Read