Quacking Up the Wrong Christmas Tree
Two weeks ago, I thought I’d write an article about “keeping Christ in Christmas.” This week, the story is all about Ducks. So, I guess I’ll mix my messages and say that I think in both cases we Christians are quacking up the wrong Christmas tree.
What was it the angels said?
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Luke 2:14 (KJV)
Peace on earth.
Good will toward men.
How does that jive with all the angry words that seem to dominate my Facebook feed? In my mind, not so well. Consider these thoughts from your friend, Caaamper….
CHRISTmas or Happy Holidays?
A good number of my friends are adamant about saying “Merry Christmas!” Almost to the point that I’m afraid that if I happen to slip up and say “Happy Holidays” to the wrong person, I might end up being shunned. It’s like walking on egg shells just to pick out a Christmas…um…er…Holiday card.
“We’ve gotta keep Christ in Christmas!” they shout. “Those left-wing liberals are trying to scrub the ‘reason for the season’ right out of the holiday!”
Well, amen brother. In response, let’s consider the scriptures that discuss the Christmas holiday….
That’s right. There aren’t any. You see, Christ didn’t come to earth so we’d name a holiday after Him. But, maybe we could consider some of the things He said:
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” Matthew 5:7
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Matthew 5:9
“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:44-45b
“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38
“Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Luke 6:30-31
Personally, I don’t see a lot of room there for Christians to be writing nasty Facebook posts….but, that’s just me.
I think if we want to keep Christ in Christmas, then our best method to do so is to keep Christ in us. We are his hands, his feet, his mouth in this broken world. We should reflect Him in our very words and actions, and by doing so Christ will very much remain in Christmas…regardless of what we call it.
Here are some suggestions:
Feed a hungry person. Put a coat on the back of a homeless person. Buy someone some groceries. Listen to someone who needs an ear. Put your arm around someone in pain. Buy someone a tank of gas. Forgive someone who has hurt you. Be Christ this Christmas.
Ducks and Boycotts
Ever since Phil Robertson’s words whirled into a firestorm, my family has been telling me to keep my mouth…and my keyboard…to myself and stay out of the fray. And, frankly, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say anyway. The whole spectacle has actually been painful…painful to watch…painful to read…and painful to think about.
That said, even though I’m tip-toeing into the subject, I’m not going to discuss what Phil said. I’m not going to talk about the reactions from GLAAD or A&E. If you want my thoughts on those things, we’ll need to know one another, and then we can sit down and have a discussion. Instead, I’m going to share my view that as Christians, I think we are reacting all wrong.
Christians all across America are up in arms about the attack on Phil’s 1st Amendment right of free speech, and angry about the infringement on our rights to freely practice our religion. Hateful words are flying through cyberspace faster than light travels from the Sun to the Earth. Nasty letters…nasty posts…nasty tweets.
We Christians may deny being homophobic, but we sure can be hateful when our rights are stepped on.
The problem is that Christ never guaranteed we’d enjoy those rights. And, the way we are pursuing them flies in the face of some of the things He did want us to do….see the verses above.
Are people saying things about Christians that aren’t true? Yes. Are they misconstruing Bible verses to suit their agendas? Absolutely. Are some even attacking our God? No doubt.
Well, shouldn’t we stand up and fight?
Consider these words:
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” --Jesus. Matthew 5:10-12
“But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other also.” --Jesus. Matthew 5:39
“Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” --Peter. 1 Peter 3:9
“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” --Jesus. Matthew 6:14-15
Rather, I think we should be about the business that He left us here to do. He ate with sinners. He drank with sinners. He died for sinners. And frankly, that is what we are. Let us pass that example through and befriend those around us that still remain outside the Grace we’ve found.
We weren’t commissioned to defend God, or judge the world. God can pretty well defend Himself, and the judgment seat is where He sits. We were told to love God, love our neighbor, and urge a lost world to reunite with the Father. Period.
The problem with judging is that when we do it, it gets in the way of loving.
No more strife. No more anger. No more hateful words. Rather, let us love with the love of Christ. Selflessly. With sacrifice.
You don’t have to approve of what people do in order to love them. Good grief, I don’t even approve of my own actions a good deal of the time, but I don’t have any trouble maintaining affection for myself. Paul said in Romans that we “all have sinned.” God gave us Grace before we deserved it, so why shouldn’t we give it to others before they do?
We can make a difference in this world, but it won’t be our angry words that does it. It will be something truly remarkable.