On this blustery morning I was watching Fox news
I was watching Fox News when this story appeared and the trio on set were discussing the American atheists who were going to such lengths as to promote their brand of atheism by borrowing the slogan from the Trump presidential campaign, “Make America Great Again,” and this time coining the phrase, “Make Christmas Great Again – Skip Church.” I found this to be nonsensical and pointless as I heard an atheist trying to get the message that if you are pressured about Christmas, skip church. Really? That is what this mega dollar ad campaign is about? You want people who are questioning their faith, or their “religious Christmas” to skip church?
Let’s use some logic and reason shall we?
Logically, and atheists supposedly thrive on logic and reason, so let’s use some here. Logically, Christmas, is the Latinized of “mass of Christ” or “Christ’s Mass,” a religious service and feast day of the institutional church that commemorates the day of the birth of Christ. Now, I am sure that atheists know this cardinal truth (yes, religious pun intended), no one knows when Jesus was born, and most likely, when reading the nativity narratives, one would conclude that based on the activities and the context of the story, that Jesus was likely born in the month of October, taking into account the journey to Bethlehem and registering for the Roman census that Mary and Joseph were engaged in at the time. So scratch a December birth. It is more than likely a pre-Halloween birth if anything, which raises other issues that won’t be discussed here.
This is a tempest in a teapot
So logically this whole thing about Christmas is a tempest in a tea pot. As others have said, this is a holiday that has been set aside as a religious celebration, which in my opinion has been secularized already. To make the atheists happy, it is not enough to have Santa replace the Christ Child, and not enough to have the celebration of hope replaced by the celebration of greed, but to put even more succinctly, and sarcastically, if Christmas had not become secularized already, then big business would have invented the holiday just to make a buck!
Look at the secularization of the holiday season
Look at the US Thanksgiving (in Canada we have it in October) in November, and how Black Friday has become a month long “Black Friday Month” of cheaper prices on everything from electric tooth brushes to the latest Buick car model. You see anywhere from 20% to 60% off on items from toasters to big screen HDTV’s. It is as if all the stores, both physical and online stores, all gear up and stock up for the month of October so they can go on a sales binge starting in November and carry on through to the first week of January with the Boxing Day sales that get extended to the New Year. It is all commercialized and secularized already. So what are the atheists complaining about? People are not bombarded with religion in these stores, but are bombarded with greed, need, wants that at other times of the year are suppressed and denied as if you were some kind of monk on a fast.
Atheists make little logic on this new campaign
They want to “Make Christmas Great Again,” and depending on your belief system, you could argue that Christmas is already great (much like Hillary Clinton articulated during the American election). But look at this phrasing and syntax. You want proof of secularization, you need look no further than how everyone uses the word “Christmas” at this time of year, and for most people it means Santa, reindeer, sleigh rides, Christmas trees, sing-alongs, shopping, presents and parties and family gatherings. NONE of this has anything to do with the Christ child that was born in a stable in Bethlehem. People really don’t care. They have their version of “Christmas” and they celebrate it with little thought as to why Jesus of Nazareth was born in the first place. They have next to no knowledge of the Incarnation and why Jesus is the God-man, God incarnate in human flesh, that came to earth as a little child, carried in the womb of a young teenaged maiden, in order to be born and reach manhood, apprentice and become a carpenter, and then to become a preacher of the Kingdom of God and the Redeemer of the entire world. He came as a child to die as the only Mediator between God and man, and heal a broken world.
How do you commercialize that? How do you trivialize that? You do that by replacing the narrative with the narrative of Santa, Frosty the Snowman, Jack Frost, and a host of other secular fables that are just used to distract us from the real reason for the season.
So the gist of this atheist campaign is simple
Atheists are preaching what Paul in the New Testament calls another Gospel (Galatians 1:8). The Gospel is the “good news” and the content of the good news is that God sent His son Jesus of Nazareth to be born of a virgin in Bethlehem in order that the world would be redeemed and restored and transformed. Atheists do not want people to go to church. They want you to “skip church” this Christmas season.
Pressure, smeshure… there really is no pressure at Christmas
Atheists will argue that you don’t need to be pressured to go to church and that you should simply boycott church and enjoy the best of Christmas without considering church at all. The whole point of Christmas is Christ. The gift of hope for the world. If people are pressured about church at Christmas then I don’t understand what it is they think Christmas is about. There should be no pressure.
You don’t need “church” in order to celebrate Christmas
In fact Christmas is about God loving us so much that He gave Himself to us through a baby born in a manger. There were no church buildings then. There is no need for church buildings now, or church programs for that matter, or choirs, or religious services of any kind. God doesn’t have a list like that. God is about love and grace, not religious programs. Jesus did not come to the earth to establish a new religion, but to show the way and make a way to a restored relationship with a God that loves the entire world.
Atheists don’t like to hear that last paragraph. They think that life without God is good. They like their little mind game and promo game of wanting to make Christmas inclusive for everyone by saying that you should enjoy Christmas this year by skipping church.
Newsflash to the atheists, and anyone else for that matter
You don’t need church to celebrate Christmas. You only need an open heart and to reach out and embrace others. That Christ child, that this day celebrates, said when he grew up to become a man, “As much as you do these things to the least of these, you do it to me” (Matthew 25:31-46), and in stating this, he was referring to anyone who feeds the hungry, quenches the thirst of the thirsty, shelters the homeless, gives clothes to the shivering, visits the sick, or visits those in prison, those who do these things do these things to Him. Any righteous act done in love toward another, is an act of love done toward God. So atheists, even all of your own good and noble deeds done toward your fellow man, all these are acts of God’s grace being done in you and through toward others. Even when you are attempting your best to suppress the message of God’s love, and show love toward your fellow man you are actually denying your own atheistic beliefs. Nothing would satisfy Jesus more than an act of kindness and act of love and charity shown to your fellow man. You cannot deny Him, even when you try.
So this Christmas, there will be no “Bah Humbug” out of me
There is nothing you can do to quench my love for the story of the Nativity. You can put up your posters and billboards and broadcast your distaste and dislike for Christmas and the Christ child all you want. The absurdity of that kind of promotion only reinforces for millions the beauty and the grace of God, in loving this world and giving us the gift of the Christ child, born so long ago.
It is not about church, and it never has been
The story of Christmas is the story of a journey, first it was Joseph and Mary, but it is also the journey that each of us must make. It has been about each person discovering God on their own, and walking throughout life with God knowing that God is for them and not against them. It is a life pilgrimage. They say that it is but a few major events in one’s life that shapes that life forever. Imagine what the Incarnation did for both Mary and Joseph.
You don’t need a preacher to tell you that. You don’t need a choir to sing the Hallelujah Chorus to rouse your heart to the glory of the Christ. You don’t need church programs and services. You walk with God, even when you don’t even know Him. He is already there. He is ever present. Jesus is the human face of God. Jesus has shared in your sufferings in order that you may share in His glory and beautiful grace. That’s what Christmas is about, and you don’t have to go to church to find Him. He is as close as your breath and your heartbeat, and no atheist can take that away. Breathe in, breathe out… feel God in your life.
Blessed Christmas everyone.
~ Samuel M. Buick