I will admit it right off the bat. I am not a big fan of the “warfare” analogies that are used among Christian circles. I made a previous video on this issue of “spiritual warfare” between God and satan a few months ago, and my point was simple: why make such a big deal about this “war” between good and evil when we already know how the story ends?
As we know the words of the Bible, and we know how the story ends, I feel that wrapping our minds around this “big fight” is a waste of time – EXCEPT to remind ourselves that we are at risk if we don’t stay on the right side.
Worrying about satan beating God is like having watched Star Wars Episodes 4, 5, and 6, and then starting at Star Wars Episode 1 with worry about the future of the Jedi.
So, do we “put on the full armor of God” as Paul says in Ephesians 6:11? Of course we do. But, what is the context of this? The Bible says that God wins, but just because God wins doesn’t mean WE win. WE have to stay on His side. And, we must stay armored to protect ourselves with the help of God.
Now, this all being said, I came across an article on CNN this morning that addresses a “War on Christmas.” Do I think there is a “war” to lessen the intensity, if you will, of the Christmas season?
But, you know what? It comes from ALL camps. I have many Christian brothers and sisters who actually want the same thing. No Santa Claus. No Christmas trees. No mistletoe. No wreaths. No Yule log.
And, I get this.
EXHIBIT A. I was startled a week or so ago by a facebook status from one of my Non-Christian, Jewish friends which said this:
[Name removed] has finally reached my annoyance peak: Is it really necessary for my kids to be in school to do nothing but Santa Claus art for two weeks? Sorry, but last time I checked, our country still had the value of separation of church and state. I don’t want to hear that Santa is not a religious symbol . . . he’s not bringing MY kids gifts for Hanukkah, so it MUST be a Christmas thing.
I want to be clear that I don’t advocate for Santa Claus to leave the season. I think Santa is fun. I remember Santa being very fun as a secular Jew in a mostly secular Jewish family that celebrated the season with a Christmas tree and gifts under the tree every December 25th. And, my son – almost three years old – is very familiar with Santa Claus already from what he has seen in popular culture.
That cat is out of the bag, and remembering the fun we had with it as children, Marie and I are not curtailing the Santa myth one bit.
HOWEVER – and a big however – when our Jewish, non-believing friends tie Christianity with Santa Claus, then I submit that every Christian should put on the armor of God on ourselves and upon our immediate families, so that our Christmases are always Christ-centered.
So, while Santa is an element of The Reed Family Christmas season… as is the Christmas tree… and the wreath… and presents under the tree… and the
yule log gas fireplace, we are stressing to young A.J. that JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON.
If Christian families focus more here and focus less on preserving the accoutrements of the secular Christmas season in their households, then I think that the diversion that “the evil one” wants to create between Jesus Christ and Santa Claus is diminished.
Still, I must confess that I feel the accoutrements are an important element of the season, and I would like to preserve them in the secular world.
As a non-believer for 36 Christmases, I always felt “something in the air” just as Thanksgiving ended. It always felt like the world was changing for the better. It was a palpable feeling… something you could smell, taste, hear, feel.
And, when I came to faith and celebrated my first Christmas as a Christian, I felt that feeling… but 1,000 times stronger. It was during my first Christmas Eve mass as a Christian that I realized the source of that palpable feeling:
That feeling is God. It is God’s happiness that during this season, the world is reminded that a Savior for all was born.
So, while I think that God would prefer that God bless and Santa B. less, I think that He is pleased that even the secular Christmas focuses the secular world – even if for a brief period of the year – on giving, sharing, loving, renewing.
God is love. And, if the secular Christmas is about love, it is alright by me.
Best of all, the secular Christmas provides Christians with many opportunities to spread the Gospel to our non-believing friends. And, this includes our actions. If we direct efforts to curtail the accoutrements of the secular Christmas, I think we end up looking more like Ebenezer Scrooge than a disciple of Jesus Christ.
That is not a good thing.