Christmas in June

June 14, 2008

One of the resolutions approved at the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention this past week affirmed public declarations of "Merry Christmas." It was apparently a pressing concern for a majority of messengers that some stores say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas" as part of their marketing strategies. Mark Gstohl has a good column at Religion Dispatches critiquing the resolution. He argued:

My suggestion is that if Southern Baptists feel the need to de-secularize Christmas they should practice the teachings of Christ and reflect on whether or not they are truly restoring Christmas to its proper place in their lives. Has Christmas become an excuse for excessive consumption? How much time does one spend in reflection on the incarnation versus the time spent contemplating gift lists and shopping?

I think the best method for addressing the secularization of Christmas might be to focus on one's own spiritual connection with the Christ Child. Maybe then, the true meaning of Christmas will be shared. I think Southern Baptists would be better served by following the one who humbled himself than by joining Bill O'Reilly's Christmas crusade.
Amen! I dealt with the problems of the "Christmas War" attitude in a Kansas City Star column last December and an Ethics Daily column a couple of years ago. I hope we will focus more on sharing the love of Christ than fighting to make sure that stores mention Christmas while selling stuff.