War on the War

It’s Black Friday and the war has started.   Its been raging for as long as I can remember and I don’t know if it’s ever going to end because we don’t know what winning means and no one is ever going to surrender. I’ll hear of the war and rumors of war in the news, on the internet, through emails and maybe from the pulpit.  My fears will be inflamed.  I’ll get angry, defensive, and then I’ll go on the offensive.  I’ve got to fight to protect what once was.

It’s the War on Christmas.

The battle lines are clearly drawn.  It’s the cultural conservatives and Christians against the secular humanists, liberals and greedy corporate America.  On one side, “we’re” fighting for a time when Christmas was about Jesus, it snowed every Christmas morning, and when you purchased gifts (while never overspending nor making it about material things) the person who took your money said “Merry Christmas” and not “Happy Holidays” or some other trite slogan of pluralism.  Christmas decorations went up after Thanksgiving and you got out of school to celebrate Jesus’ birth and not Winter Solstice.

On the other side, “they” hate anything traditional, especially if it is something that Christians like.  They seem to go overboard in accommodating and validating any and every belief.  They fear committing the postmodern unpardonable sin of offending anyone (except the Christians, of course).  They worship the dollar and bow at the feet of multiculturalism.

This blog isn’t about the reality of the war in our culture.  It’s about the reality of the war that goes on inside of me.  What does the war do to me?  How do and how should I respond in the midst of the war?

I find that most of the times that I choose to fight a battle that it’s rarely about what I say it’s about. I say it’s about values, others, and Jesus.  It’s usually about my rights, my validation, and my fears.  I find that I rarely fight for “what’s right” and usually fight for “who’s right.”

I’m looking for someone to validate me.  I feel they are taking something from me and I’ve got to fight to keep it.  They’re robbing me of respect or value or power and I’ve got to argue for and defend what is mine.

When I compare that to the way Jesus acted at Christmas time, I find that it’s actually a contrast.  Instead of fighting for his rights, Jesus gave them up.  He didn’t demonstrate his power and strength but made himself vulnerable and weak.  He didn’t declare war on culture but proclaimed peace on earth.  He didn’t expect his culture to validate him but rather expected that he would be misunderstood, rejected, and crucified.

So this Christmas, I’m surrendering.  I’m letting go of any expectations that culture is going to validate my beliefs.  I refuse to get angry at “too much” commercialization and “not enough” Jesus at the mall.  Instead, I’ll rest in the knowledge that Jesus is enough for me.  The unconditional love and acceptance he gives me is enough.  The value he’s placed on me is enough. 

If I could live in that reality, I would have a very different Christmas. Instead of a soldier fighting for my rights, I’ll be a servant free from the need to be right and free to show others what Christmas is all about: a God who surrendered to save his enemies and who lost so that I could win.

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3 Comments »

  1. Bill Regehr Said:

    I think it is interesting that we would expect the world around us to respect, much less adhere to, the model and teachings of Christ. We have now elected a President who states that we are not a Christian nation. While it is shocking to hear that stated publicly, in our hearts we have known that for a very long time. Christ called us to be light in a dark world. We live in a dark world and being light isn’t really that hard. Because someone greets me with “Happy Holidays” gives me the opportunity to respond with “Merry Christmas.” Not harshly, but with gentleness, love and respect for the other person. I am not offended by their greeting because in many cases they’re doing what they’re told or just trying to be friendly in their own way. It serves no purpose to get heartburn over the path of those without a relationship with Jesus. That is to be expected. Our job is to love them so that they can see Jesus through us.

    Good Thoughts, Jimmy

  2. cameldriver Said:

    Perhaps a case of “Who you are speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you’re saying” Ralph Waldo Emerson. As an Evangelical Christian, I’m challenged by your blog to “be the change I want to see in the world” Mahatma Gandhi. Thanks Jimmy.

  3. Jay Watts Said:

    I thought that Christmas was about reconciling whether or not Santa was real?!! Shows what I know.

    God bless you, pastor. And Merry Christmas!


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