Friday, December 10, 2010

Christ In Christmas

Currently, the Tulsa area, a controversy is going on that is tied to a trend that has been going on for several years. Businesses, schools, and other organizations have replaced 'Christmas' with 'holiday' in the names of their December events, and Christians have resisted this by saying that Christ shouldn't be taken out of Christmas. The local flare-up is over the decision of U. S. Senator James Inhofe, a Tulsa resident, to not ride his horse in this year's parade because the organizers changed the name of the event.

Of course, many criticize him, saying he is close-minded, bigoted, and failing to represent all the people of Oklahoma. But they say this about him no matter what he does or says. Unless Inhofe changes into a liberal Democrat (he is one of the most conservative Republicans in the Senate), he will never please them. Even then, I believe they would remain suspicious of him, just waiting to pounce on him with venom and vigor if he ever again expresses another conservative or traditional thought.

On the other hand, many have applauded him for taking a stand for Christ.

Me? I'm kind of in the middle on this one.

I am glad when anyone takes a stand for Christ, however I do think that he could have taken his stand in a better manner.

Why make an issue of the parade's name? Does this really matter? In this case, maybe not.

Who decides what the parade is called? Whoever puts in on.

I tried to search online to see who that is, and apparently the parade is put on by its own organization. This organization might be an offshoot of the Jaycees, because they were mentioned in a sponsorship application I found. The parade director said the organization is not a religious one, and the parade is just a community event.

Why should we expect a non-religious organization to name their event with a Christian name, just because they called it a Christmas parade in the past? It's their event, they're not a Christian organization, and they have the right to name it whatever they want.

If the outfit behind the parade was a Christian organization, and they changed the name from 'Christmas' to anything else, then they could be taking Christ out of the event. They could also be trying to cover up the Christian nature of the event, a "bait and switch" approach to presenting the Good News of Jesus. Wouldn't that be a really spiritual method!?

Now, I have to admit I have a different perspective on this "Christ in Christmas" business anyway. You see, I'm not sure that Christmas was about Christ to begin with.

Much has already been written and said about how most Christmas customs have pagan origins, and how Christmas occurs on the same date as ancient pagan festivals (Saturnalia in Rome, Yule in Nordic lands). Did the Church do this to make it easier for pagans to believe in Jesus, or to make it easier for the Church to absorb pagans?

Of course, this doesn't mean that pagan customs can't be "saved." See what I wrote about the gittith in my Christmas Meditation post. My contention is that if Christmas is about Christ, it is so only when we make it that way. This is true for individuals, families, churches, whoever.

If Sen. Inhofe wants Christ in the Tulsa holiday parade, he should ride in the parade carrying a Christian flag, or a banner that says "Jesus Is The Reason For The Season."