Friday, December 21, 2007

Another case in point re Christmas

There are Christians who decry the supposed removal of Christ out of the word "Christmas." Mr. Martin, in his article below, claims there is a backlash against Christianity in the name of political correctness. Yes, political correctness can go to extremes, but remember political correctness is about public behavior. It is not intended to address how you behave with your family, friends or what church you attend.

For too many years, Christianity was rammed down the throats of people who did not call themselves "Christians." What's happening now is an attempt at public equality. It won't work of course but the effort is being made.

There is absolutely nothing to stop me or you from wishing anyone a Merry Christmas or sending a Christmas card with the nativity scene. There is nothing to stop us from attending a Christmas party or a prayer service focusing on the birth of Jesus or listening to a retelling of the Christmas story. I used to be the one who got to read the Christmas story in my church for a good many years. I loved doing it. You can put a nativity scene on your lawn if you want.

I have said to business colleagues at various times they are not to bother me about anything on Good Friday, Easter, Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Those are important religious holidays for me. I spend those days with family, in church and even in meditative prayer. That's my faith.

Where Mr. Martin and others get lost is their insistence that by the lack of overt public displays of the religious nature of Christmas somehow the message Jesus brought is diluted or kicked aside. Public displays are just that - displays. They don't tell us anything about the holiday. There is no meaning inherent in the displays or banners saying MERRY CHRISTMAS or the slogan "Jesus is the reason for the season."

But Jesus did not practice hocus pocus on people to make them come to hear his sermons. He did not cast spells or organize groups of people to overthrow the government that opposed them. We, as Christians, are the living public examples. We take the place of public nativity scenes.

If you want Jesus to be known and his teachings evident, walk the walk and talk the talk. That is the only appropriate public display. How you conduct yourself with fellow human beings is what makes you a Christian, not how pretty the nativity scene you designed is in your yard or at your Church.

Christianity can't ever take a backseat to anything as long as its believers carry the spirit of the message.

from CNN


Watch Roland S. Martin on a special edition of "Sound Off" on CNN.com Live at 11:10 a.m. ET Friday.

Roland S. Martin says we should continue to remember that Jesus is the reason for the season.

(CNN) -- This whole push to remove Christ from the Christmas season has gotten so ridiculous that it's pathetic.
Because of all the politically correct idiots, we are being encouraged to stop saying "Merry Christmas" for the more palatable "Happy Holidays." What the heck are "Seasons Greetings"? Can someone tell me what season we are greeting folks about? A Christmas tree? Oh, no! It's now a holiday tree. Any Christmas song that even remotely mentions Christ or has a religious undertone is being axed for being overtly religious. And I'm sorry, forget X-M-A-S. Malcolm X? Yes. X replacing Christ? No.
Don't get me wrong; I'm very respectful of other religions. I don't want anyone to be afraid of discussing the Jewish faith when we address Hanukkah. And we shouldn't dismiss Muslims when the annual pilgrimage to Mecca is held during December. In fact, Americans are so ignorant of other faiths that we can all learn from one another.
But this seeming backlash against Christianity is bordering on the absurd, and we should continue to remember that Jesus is the reason for the season.
What Would Jesus Really Do?
Roland Martin asks: What would Jesus really do in this political environment? Friday and Monday, 8 p.m. ET
see full schedule »
I know that may sound strident, but it's true. We spend an inordinate amount of time focused on shopping and buying gifts, but really, what does any of this have to do with the birth of Jesus? We have families all over the nation killing themselves to buy a tree they can't afford, running up their credit to buy toys and other gifts, all in an effort to make someone else happy.
What if families decided to forgo gifts, and instead, used their shopping days giving back to those in need? What if more of us went into our closets, grabbed old toys and clothes, repackaged them, and provided them as gifts to those without? Instead of gorging on food, what if we used some of the dough to feed those who are in need? What if we blew off those gift cards to electronic retailers and signed up with Networkforgood.org, and gave someone a gift card to their favorite charity?
Sure, I know I sound like a reincarnation of a flower child, but really, do we have to be so crass during the Christmas season?
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Its time that we return to traditional values, and end this ridiculous charade. It's important that we take a fuller account of WHY we celebrate Christmas, as opposed to falling for the barrage of ads that tell us what is most important.
Parents, don't be so consumed with the notion that your children will have a terrible Christmas because the tree isn't overflowing with gifts. The true love that you show them is more important than anything else.
America might be the king of capitalism, but secularism must never become so prevalent that our religious traditions are discarded.
Roland S. Martin is a nationally award-winning journalist and CNN contributor. Martin is studying to receive his master's degree in Christian communications at Louisiana Baptist University, and he is the author of "Listening to the Spirit Within: 50 Perspectives on Faith." You can read more of his columns at www.rolandsmartin.com.

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