I Am the 70%…and 78%

Rasmussen released a poll a few days ago showing for the 3rd year in a row, Americans prefer “Merry Christmas” as opposed to “Happy Holidays”, this year by 70%.    A separate poll earlier in 2011 by this same organization revealed that 78% of Americans believe Jesus Christ was the Son of God.  Obviously, there is no way to tell how much overlap exists between the 70% and the 78%.  But would it be reasonable to assume that most people professing belief in Jesus as the Son of God prefer to acknowledge the birth of Christ as the Reason for this Season as opposed to merely wishing someone benign holiday sentiments?  I’m a bit curious about that 8% difference though.

Yesterday while waiting in my favorite line at Wal-Mart…the “20 items or less” {fewer} line, I counted 5 shoppers in front of me and 4 more behind me.  At the front of what should have been an express line, the cashier stood motionless waiting helplessly on a shopper who sent her son back to the far reaches of the store to retrieve one forgotten item.  As people became increasingly disgruntled by what most considered a selfish delay, I decided to break into song.

“JOY to the World, the Lord has come…everybody join in…”  The response surprised me.  Shoppers waiting with me in line initially turned to see who the crazy woman was.  In a flash of comic relief…or I prefer to think of it as Christmas Cheer…they decided to sing along.  In mere moments, tension and frustration dissolved into festive self-amusement as several off-pitch enthusiasts joined in singing, “Let every heart prepare Him room and heaven and Wal-Mart sing, and heaven and Wal-mart sing, and heaven & heaven and Wal-Mart sing…”  Applause and laughter followed.

When finally my turn came to check out, the grateful cashier enthusiastically greeted me.  “Happy Holidays…and Merry Christmas,” she said smiling, as if somehow she knew I am in the 70%…and the 78%.

JOY to the World, the LORD has come!



It’s that time of year again…time to pour over favorite recipe books in preparation for family feasts, dust off the address book to send out colorful cards, break out the festive decorations, and fire up…the debate concerning which retailers use the word CHRISTMAS in their advertising.     

As predictable as excessive lights on the Griswald’s lawn, every year those among the politically correct step up to sing their own “holiday” tune.  They try to tell Christians that we should forgo the Christmas theme and embrace a more “inclusive spirit” by celebrating “Winter Holidays”.  Even worse, they attempt to shame us if we don’t.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m all for inclusion…especially the inclusion of the 24,000,000+ Americans who still openly celebrate Christmas

Recently I was reading an article which included a list of stores considered not Christmas-friendly and those that are.  Comments following the article indicated most readers were appreciative of the efforts of this particular organization to let consumers know whether stores were “Naughty or Nice.”

But as I read on, I came across a notably dissenting quote from an anonymous individual…

“This sounds like a hate group!!  … How can you ask a company to single out other religions?  WE are a free country.  Businesses need to cater to everyone.  You cannot single out people.  You have people shopping for Hannakah [sic] around the same time of year.  Should we not like the Jews? You have Jehovah’s Witness, Kwanza, ETC…You cannot shove Christianity down people’s throats!”

Dear Anonymous, it is spelled Hanukkah {or Hanukah is also considered correct}.  Furthermore, Jehovah’s Witnesses DO NOT shop for Christmas gifts because Jehovah’s Witness DO NOT celebrate Christmas. 

In light of the above corrections it is clear this comment was not written by the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree but the familiarity of the sentiments bear addressing, nonetheless.

Have you ever noticed that when someone cannot intelligently speak to the merits of an issue, they resort to name calling.  “Hate group?”  Christmas is a holiday of Peace on Earth, celebrating the birth of Christ.  It has been so for thousands of years.  All Christians are asking for is continued recognition of Christ’s name during this season.  Indeed, for Christians to be accused of hate for standing up for the Prince of Peace is worse than inane.  

As for singling out religions, the one being singled out this time of year is Christianity. Christmas is being shoved out the door in retail print ads, radio spots and television commercials.  Merchants forbid employees to say Merry Christmas.  Store chains decline to promote the term Christmas decorations, though they happily sell them while making a hefty profit.  Any logical shopper could deduce that retailers want our money as they vigorously advertise their “holiday specials” but they expect Christians not to be offended at the elimination of the Reason for the Season.

Free country?  Absolutely.  At least for now we are still allowed to celebrate our faith in the manner in which we see fit.  We don’t ask Jews not to celebrate Hanukkah.  Nor do we advocate for the elimination of other religious holy days.  So why should we tolerate the marginalization of ours?  To celebrate Christmas is not to shove Christianity down anyone’s throat.  Rather it is an expression of a Christian’s faith, a tradition held for centuries that only in the past few decades, has come under fire. 

Christians are not demanding everyone in America celebrate Christmas.  But neither will we keep silent when those in the minority attempt to highjack our holiday.  In a truly free society, ALL people of faith maintain their liberty and the beliefs of ALL are valued whether or not they are embraced by others.  In a tolerant society no reasonable person would seek to purge a holiday embraced by 78% of a nation’s population.

On a final note, I would hasten to add that to believers in Christ, this holiday is not about massive spending or accumulating hoards of materialism.  We simply recognize the sanctity of this holiday and we are mindful…hopefully long beyond the Christmas season… of merchants who dismiss people of faith by refusing to honor our values.

Here’s the link to the Naughty or Nice list… http://action.afa.net/Detail.aspx?id=2147486887

Make Room for the King

I love Christmas.  It is undoubtedly my favorite holiday.


The biggest problem with our secular, gift-giving, party-going approach to Christmas is that there often isn’t purposeful attention devoted to the Christ child.  I heard it said recently that if the Innkeeper in Bethlehem had known who he was turning away, he would have gladly given up his own bed.  But would he?  Would we?  Sadly, just as the Innkeeper of Mary & Joseph’s time uttered the words “no room”, so too, we give in to the notion that we are “full”. 


Holiday paraphernalia seems to hit retail shelves earlier & earlier each year…am I the only one uncomfortable with Halloween candy corn and peppermint candy canes on display at the same time?  Despite this early rush to kick off the Christmas season, we still insist there is just no time…no room for the King.  Buried in busyness we allow the trappings of this season to steal our joy and conceal the original message of “Peace on Earth”.


In January 2008 I had an epiphany that we don’t really know what day Jesus was born so why not celebrate Christmas everyday this year?  As my act of symbolism, I left my home decorated with Christmas trees, wreaths, nativity scenes, stockings on the mantle, an elaborate village lit up…well, you get the picture.  Much to their surprise friends coming to visit were greeted with “Merry Christmas” even in July as the smell of spices wafted through my indoor winter wonderland.


Now in December 2008, with snow blanketing the earth outside my festive Colorado home I taste the warmth of hot cocoa.  I recall memories of the past 11 months…the joyful, the painful, the unexpected.  For some of us making room for Christ will flow as it has throughout the year. For others, it will be more difficult…in my own life I pray for loved ones in financial crisis, employment uncertainties, a prayer partner facing serious health concerns, a family chair that will be left empty this side of heaven at the Christmas feast.


My heart is heavy even as Christmas music flows from stereo speakers. Quietly the Lord reminds me He inhabits the praise of His people. 


If we truly desire to make room for the King this season, we can begin…even in the most painful circumstances…with something as simple as humming, singing, praising.  There’s a supernaturalness about praise that clears away heart clutter and leaves an open space.  A space where the King may enter in.  The more we praise the more room we clear for Him and the more Christ enters in. 


Will we leave “baby Jesus” out in the cold stall this year or will we make room for King Jesus to enter in?


“Rejoice, the Lord is King; Your Lord & King adore!  Rejoice, give thanks and SING, and triumph evermore!  Lift up your heart.  Lift up your voice! Rejoice again, I say rejoice! “  

  {“Rejoice the Lord is King” by Charles Wesley 1707-1788}