It’s Christmas time again in America, the country’s most favored cultural ritual, practiced according to some estimates by up to 91 percent of the American people.
“Christmas” is the Old English contraction of the words “Christ’s mass” –
a church service in recognition of Jesus’ birth. So it’s feasible for many of us to consider Christmas Advent a month-long service for Christ not only in our churches, but also in our homes and in the public square.
The story of why we celebrate Christmas remains as interesting and fresh each Advent season as it was the last Christmas season: A young woman named Mary, of the town of Nazareth, was visited by the angel Gabriel and was told she will bear the Son of God. Her fiancé Joseph believed that she was with child by way of the Holy Ghost and marries her anyway. When it came time for her to bear the child, they journeyed to Bethlehem, only to find no room at the inn, but were allowed to stay in the stable with the livestock, where Jesus Christ the Son of God was born. This is the origin of the Nativity.
Emanuel – God with us! God’s Son chose to take on human flesh and come to earth in the form of a human infant, on a mission to ultimately offer himself as the “perfect
sacrifice” in an act of unsurpassed love for the salvation of human kind.
Nearly all cultures in the Western world consider a Nativity scene an essential part of decorations, celebrations and worship at Christmastime. St. Francis of Assisi is credited with creating the first living Nativity with human actors and live animals in the year 1224. He saw it as a practical way to teach the story of Jesus’ birth. Throughout the centuries since, the Nativity scene has been embraced by the Christian world and has come to be recognized as the logo representing Christmas.
Christmas tradition has accustomed us to seeing this logo in countless numbers of styles and presentations. Most often we receive beautiful renditions on Christmas cards. Each Advent season we see reproductions of magnificent paintings depicting the Nativity. Many, many different kinds of nativity sets are available for commercial use and for use in our home for decorating, both indoors and outdoors.
The Nativity is critical to the Christian identity, which rests upon the miracle of the virgin birth of Jesus Christ, who is worshiped as the Savior of the world.
Over the course of the past 20 years, Nativity scenes have come under scurrilous and unrelenting assaults by well organized anti-Christ individuals and organizations that want to depose Christianity as the preeminent religion of the Western world. In the name of “inclusion” (honoring other religions) these groups have brazenly waged war on all things Christian, and practically every aspect that Christians employ to celebrate a traditional Christmas.
Each year a string of lawsuits are filed against townships across our nation for displaying Nativity scenes at their city halls and in their public parks. The objective is to intimidate the people in these targeted townships from practicing Christianity in the public square at Christmastime. The overall goal is to de-legitimatize the Nativity, and consequently Christianity, as the representative religion for America. These well-known groups have taken on the openly hostile goal “to make Christians miserable as possible” during the month of December Advent.
Another, egregious aspect of the war against Christianity is the introduction, by non-Christians, of an alternative to the Gregorian A.D. and B.C. to track time.
Christ’s birth divides time as tracked by the Christian Gregorian Calendar (created by Dionysius Exiguus in 525 A.D.; the Gregorian Calendar was introduced in the Catholic parts of Europe in 1582 A.D. by Pope Gregory XIII). This is the calendar used in the Western world. We observe time and history based upon the recognition of life before Christ was born and history after his death. The meaning of A.D. is anno Domini, or “year of our Lord,” referring to the year of Christ’s birth. The meaning of B.C. is “before Christ.”
Those who are trying to foist C.E. (“common era”) and B.C.E. (“before common era) onto the Christian world essentially say that it is not right that the whole world has to view history from the perspective of the birth and death of Jesus Christ.
The cooperative movement by varied non-Christians groups to change how the Christian world tracks the events of human history is a big deal. The Gregorian calendar is an accepted Christian instrument and should not be subject to any change, or suggestion of change by non-Christians. These entities want to keep the calendar, yet remove the recognition of Christ by the calendar, therefore making it no longer Christian. If we accept C.E. and B.C.E., we will wipe out the world recognition of the monumental importance of Christ’s birth. If we no longer use B.C and A.D., then the Nativity becomes just another event in human history.
This strikes at the heart of the Christian identity. If people no longer say or write B.C. or A.D., it delegitimizes the Nativity – the virgin birth of the Savior of the world. If the Nativity is no longer the preeminent event of world history, then Christmas is no longer worthy of the world stopping to hear that Jesus came for the salvation of each person on earth. That accomplished, it makes it easier for them replace Christ with Santa, to outlaw the term “Christmas,” dictate that “Merry Christmas” be abolished and “Happy Holidays” be the mandated substitute greeting for the now Christless December festival. This act of Christian sacrilege that automatically dethrones Christianity as the most important way of life to have ever happened to human beings.
The only way Christians should accept the use of the terms C.E. and B.C.E. is that they officially be accepted and written to mean respectively “Christian era” and “before the Christian era”!
The introduction of C.E. and B.C.E. is a culturally manipulative, calculated maneuver that is being interjected by hostile forces who wish to undermine Christianity and the Christian way of life as the most powerful forces on earth.
The Christian answer to concerted attempts to remove Nativity scenes from the public square should be to respond with such a proliferation of Nativity images and scenes that no one in the Western world will be able to avoid knowing that Jesus is the focus of Christmas.
We should demand that local and national television stations use the Nativity logo to represent Christmas, not Santa, reindeer, nor snowmen. TV stations should particularly use this logo on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, when they wish Americans a “Merry Christmas!”
Individuals or committees should approach business people and ask that they display a Nativity scene in their store windows. The individuals or committees might even provide the Nativity scenes, with a donation to their work from the business proprietor. In lieu of three-dimensional scenes, committees might also sell beautifully designed Nativity decals and ask that they be prominently displayed on storefront windows.
Christians should consider buying a Nativity decal and a Nativity bumper sticker for their cars, SUVs, trucks, vans and station wagons.
Homeowners have the ability to saturate their neighborhoods by displaying life-size Nativities, large illustrations of Nativity scenes, and hanging flags depicting the Nativity.
The overwhelming Christian majority holds the power to make Christmas 2010 a Jesus-focused public square event, if each and every one of us will become Christian Christmas activists and make it happen.
Please pick up a copy of my book, “101 Ways To Have A Christian Christmas,” and get many other ideas for how to Christmas for Jesus.
It is my hope that you and your family will have a joyous Christ-filled Christmas Advent. And with all my heart, I wish you, your family and your community a very “Merry Christmas!”
REMINDER: Please participate in The Christian Christmas Lady’s project to ask all the churches in America with bells to program them to play Christmas carols throughout 2010 Advent and to program them to ring at 12:00 midnight on Christmas Eve and at 12:00 noon on Christmas Day. Click here to read and forward a copy of my column, “Ring the Christmas Church Bells!”