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.

3 comments

  1. Brian,

    You sometimes leave me scratching my head at the articles you say "Amen!" to.

    How interesting that you and Mark Gstohl (who, based on these quotes, I rank as a journalist right down there with Miguel de la Torre) do not wish to affirm voluntary, public declarations of "Merry Christmas."

    And, I find it interesting--actually, inconsistent--that you endorse "personal reflection only" in this instance, while you disdain Christians who keep creation stewardship a personal matter rather than shouting about it in the public, political square. (See the post just before this one).

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  2. I don't mind voluntary, public declarations of "Merry Christmas." I do oppose attempts by Christians to influence businesses to coerce their employees to say "Merry Christmas" and believing that it would somehow positively impact the culture.

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  3. Thanks for the comments.

    CD: Please go and actually read the article and my post again. I have no problem with "voluntary, public declarations of 'Merry Christmas.'" What I--and apparently Gstohl--have a problem with is demanding that others offer such declarations--which then makes them not so voluntary! If we say to a store that they better say "Merry Christmas" or we won't shop there, then that no longer allows for a voluntary declaration. I have no problem with Christians saying "Merry Christmas." In fact, I think we should, and I do. I just don't care to try and force others to say it. If they don't mean it, then it won't mean much--in fact, it would then only devalue the statement. Let's focus on telling people about the true meaning of Christmas instead of trying to force stores to adopt a particular saying.

    Mark: Thanks for stopping by and for your good piece. You summarize very well my thoughts as well on this situation. If only CD would read more carefully.

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