It has become customary this time of year to see a multitude of headlines about court suits, impassioned legislative debates and tendentious corporate decrees to employees concerning what can and cannot be said, displayed or worn in public concerning Christmas. Regardless of how one views the particular issues giving rise to such litigious goings-on, it is sad to see the universal message of the Christmas season obscured.
It is true that billions of Christians around the world celebrate Christmas because it’s Jesus’ birthday and his birth is the central fact of human history, if he is what he claimed to be, the incarnate God among men. Christians believe his birth shattered the iron grip of evil on humans and occasioned the angelic proclamation of “peace on earth” recorded by Luke the Physician in the New Testament gospel bearing his name.
Christmas also made possible Jesus’ brief but powerful ministry, the central teaching of which is that we ought to love God first and our neighbors before ourselves. One need not be a Christian or indeed a follower of any particular faith to recognize that putting others’ needs before our own is the essence of genuine love, which is something all of us need and should display much more of every day of the year.
How much better our world would be if those who seek to direct the affairs of nations could be the first to demonstrate in their own lives and their official deliberations the power and purpose of selfless love. If they and we all did so, think how much sooner our world’s poor would be nurtured, the hungry fed, the sick healed and the children able to lay down to sleep at night without fear of what morning might bring, if it comes at all.
So it is in this spirit that we ask all involved on either side of the “War on Christmas” simply to lower their voices, put down the legal briefs and push themselves away from the court docket, if only for a little while and if only to allow all of us of whatever faith we might be to quietly meditate upon and resolve to reflect in our own lives and thoughts the Christmas vision of love and peace given birth in an obscure corner of the ancient world two millennia ago.