Saturday, January 2, 2010

“Christmas with a Capital C”

The other day I was in my car listening to one of the local Christian radio stations that I have pre-programmed. I heard a song called “Christmas with a Capital C.” Typically, the music on that radio station is loving praise and worship style music. But this particular song was so ugly in tone that it really shocked me. I’m not sure why any Christian radio station would air it.

Inter-spliced with the music were excerpts from a stand-up comedian’s rant on the tendency of people (particularly in retail settings) to wish others “happy holidays” instead of “merry Christmas.” The comedian talks initially about how Christmas was a cultural phenomenon that we all used to participate in together regardless of our own specific religious beliefs because it was good for the country. There is then a sarcastic reference to “Mr. Lowenstein,” which to me seems to be a hostile anti-Semitic remark, but perhaps others might interpret the reference in a more benign way. The comedian later talks about Christmas being part of the religious heritage of our country.

It is offensive and hurtful to me when people try to dilute the Christian faith into a cultural phenomenon. The Super Bowl is a cultural phenomenon. The blood sport of American political discourse is a cultural phenomenon. The Disney mega-franchise is a cultural phenomenon. There is not anything wrong with cultural phenomena. But to me, Christianity is much more. As a result, I continue to be baffled as to why any Christ follower would want to dilute the religious significance to impose Christian holidays like Christmas on non-believers to make such holidays a part of the mainstream, secular culture.

Ephesians 4:1-3

Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,
with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love,
3being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

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