I have tried to avoid this whole “War on Christmas” issue. It seems rather clear to me that those who believe that there is some sort of war on Christmas have clearly never experienced anything like actual war. I would much prefer to simply ignore the whole thing as the product of people on the stranger fringes of the Christian tradition.
However, those of us who refuse to buy into this frame of mind should be concerned that the birth of Jesus is being used to create division. Because whenever the name of Jesus (or his birthday) is used to create a “them” — a group of people who are cast in the role of outsiders — all of us who seek to follow him should be concerned.
How strange it is that the one whom we Christians hail during the Christmas season as the “Prince of Peace” should be used to create anything less than peace during this season. Yet, this is precisely what the Christmas warriors are doing. They are placing those who do not celebrate Christmas — or, at least, don’t celebrate it as a religious occasion — as enemies of Christ and Christians. And having thusly cast them, made them part of an imaginary war. Having conjured up this imaginary war, the Christmas warriors would now cast Christians in the role of Christ- and Christmas-defenders. How very sad, and how very unChrist-like.
Those of us who see in Christ the revelation of God should also be able to see that this revelation seeks to overcome division. In Christ, there is to be no us and them. In Christ, God is seeking to overcome all forms of tribalism — including the conceited tribalism of religious people who think that God is somehow more concerned with them than with the rest of humanity.
Well, we Christians need to get over ourselves. Or, at least the Christmas warriors need to get over themselves. There is no evidence in the New Testament to support the idea that, when one day we appear in the presence of Christ, we will be told, “You said Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas — therefore I know you not.”
Christian people are sometimes their own worst enemies. And this whole Christmas warrior business is a prime example. It is another opportunity for the world to talk about how ridiculous and out of touch Christians are. Another opportunity to make true that saying attributed to Ghandi: “I like your Christ, but I don’t much like your Christians.”
Remember people: we are to love people into loving God — not beat them up until they submit or run away. We are to cross barriers, not set them up.