I just came across this story in Advertising Age about a trend where more and more companies ditching the term “holiday” in reponse to pressure by the American Family Association and going back to the word “Christmas” to promote their holiday (oops!) sales. Here’s a link.
You know, I think the big hoopla on this issue is ridiculous and always has been. The problem I have always had with organized religion is it’s focus on traditions and rules and appearances instead of people’s hearts. Many times I think the things we do and standards we set do more to separate us and make use feel better about ourselves as Christians rather than to help people understand what Jesus is all about.
Let me tell you something; We celebrated Christmas in my house and I heard the Christmas story every single year for my entire childhood and when I got to adulthood I literally had no idea what the significance of Jesus’ life was. I could recite the story from memory but I had no clue why it should be important to me, and my life certainly reflected that. If anything, the story of Jesus had become just another fairy tale, a piece of folklore, and a gigantic marketing campaign to me, not much more. It had become so packaged and commercialized that it had lost it’s meaning. I think most people could say the same thing.
But now here we are boycotting companies because they are refusing to use God as their salesman and I’m shaking my head wondering why. For years we’ve wanted commercialism seperated from Christmas and now that’s exactly what’s happening. The mega corporations have left Christmas out and are now calling the celebration of gift giving a “Holiday”. And we’re all bowed up? We’re here lamenting that we’ve “lost” Christmas?
Look, Christ never told anyone to celebrate his birthday. He also didn’t setup a giant fire-sale at Jesus’ Goat Skin Superstore one day a year in December to promote God’s agenda. He affected people through direct interaction. He taught people. He served people. He showed compassion and love and took the time to hang with regular folks and tell them about God. He did this every single day.
If we’re “losing” Christmas it’s not because companies are using or not using the term in their sunday advertising. It’s because we’ve failed to do what Christ did for the other 364 days of year.