Boston, Massachusetts became the first major city to rename their official decorated tree from ‘Christmas Tree’ to ‘Holiday Tree’ in 2005, prompting the Nova Scotian logger who donated the tree to proclaim that he’d rather see it cut up and tossed in a wood chipper than call it a ‘holiday’ tree.
In 2002, New York City public school system managed to ban nativity scenes while at the same time allowing the display of Hanukkah menorahs, Muslim stars and crescents, and Chris…, er, holiday trees.
Fast forward to this year alone…
Because of ONE parent’s complaint, a Little Rock elementary school cancelled a planned voluntary field trip to see a local church’s live presentation of “Merry Christmas Charlie Brown,” a trip hundreds of other students were looking forward to.
A group of Missoula, Montana parents complained about Christmas carols being performed at their kids’ elementary school, calling the Christian based songs, “a form of bullying.”
The University of Virginia, citing housing regulations and safety hazards, made students take down dorm-area Christmas trees and other decorations.
In Santa Monica, California, small but vocal group of atheists managed to put a stop to the 60 year tradition of church-created nativity displays in Palisades Park.
In a stunning lack of regard for the religious liberties of soldiers on active duty, the US Navy has cancelled the long-standing tradition of producing a ‘live nativity’ at a military base in Bahrain.
This list could go on and on, and on and on and on, ad nauseam. Each year, Fox News documents instances of the so-called ‘War on Christmas.’ Each year, the secularists tell us there is no war, all the while filing lawsuit after lawsuit to remove every mention of Christ from every area of the ‘public square. After all, they aren’t coming into our houses to remove nativities from our living room shelves (yet), so why are Christians whining so much?
To be sure, as a Christian it does sadden me to witness the senseless removal of the symbols of my faith, especially on what should be the most joyous, most celebrated holiday of all. We watch with disappointment as a vocal, hand-wringing, meddling minority continually manages to thwart the will of the majority, no matter that the majority doesn’t wish harm upon anyone, but merely wishes to express their faith the way they have for generations upon generations, since the dawn of a country once founded upon the tenets of Christianity.
Like the Grinch who tried to steal Christmas by stealing the presents around the tree, the lights, the candy canes, and even the tree itself, only to realize that he couldn’t steal what was in the hearts of the villagers, the secularists who seek to war against Christianity by eliminating the vestiges of Christ from the winter solstice will also fail, even if they initially ‘succeed’ in the short-term.
Because when God came to earth in the form of a baby boy, He came with a purpose that cannot be thwarted by the mere machinations of man. With respect to the adherents of all of the other religions that seek to explain why we are here, there is one key difference between those and Christianity – all the other prophets and ‘gods’ of those religions are dead, but Jesus is very much alive. He is alive in heaven, and He is alive in the hearts of those who believe on His name. Removing a nativity from a park in Santa Monica isn’t going to change that.
On Christmas Eve, 1914, across the dreary, snowy battlefronts of World War I, German and British troops who had been trying to kill each other just one day earlier celebrated Christmas together. They exchanged gifts, showed each other pictures of loved ones back home, played games, sang carols, and longed for a day when peace would reign. In a time of war, the ‘Grinch’ had surely stolen all the trappings of Christmas from the soldiers in those muddy trenches, all the lights, the glorious trees, and even the nativity scenes, but he couldn’t steal Christmas from the hearts of men who truly knew what it was like to long for the kind of ‘Peace on Earth’ only Jesus can bring.
Just as before the age of man when one third of the angels rebelled against God and were, to quote Milton, ‘hurled headlong, flaming from the ethereal sky,’ the forces of evil have always gone to war against the good. Today, the battle remains the same – only the names have been changed to protect the innocent. Until Christ returns, the secularists can and surely will keep tilting at windmills. In the meantime, Christians will continue to celebrate the birth of their Savior, even if all the trappings are gone.
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