The Holiday Tree

Christmas has the word Christ in it.  Yet, every year we are bombarded with attempts to remove Christ from it.  People celebrate Christmas for many different reasons. Some of them have nothing to do with Jesus Christ being born.  However, this being true does not warrant a change in the meaning or traditions of Christmas.  Yet, many people are trying to take away the traditions of Christmas by not referring to it as Christmas. The claim is that it is more palatable to say, “Happy Holidays” or “Seasons Greetings.”  But, if I say “Merry Christmas” to you, is that really offensive? Let’s say, you didn’t believe in Jesus.  Would it be offensive then?   There does not appear to be a rational reason for making such a  claim.  After all, the holiday that is on December 25th is still called Christmas, not holiday.

Phil Vischer, most well known for Veggie Tales, was on CNN Sunday morning discussing this topic.  I could not find the video of the interview, but I did read the transcript.  The host approaches the topic by asking if it would be more respectful to call it a holiday tree in order for it to be “less offensive” to a broader demographic.  Here is his response to that.  (the link to the entire transcript is below)

 I don’t think it’s respectful to all because it’s trying to disconnect the origin of the tradition from the tradition.  If you don’t want to celebrate Christmas, don’t put up a Christmas tree. If you don’t want to celebrate Hanukah, don’t put up a menorah.

I think it is different when you say I’m going to put up a menorah but I’m not going call it a menorah, I’m going to call it a holiday candleholder. There’s a bit of disrespect in there. I think a lot of Christians just feel like the traditions of Christmas are being gradually stripped away from their Christian origins and called other things and it is fairly offensive.

And that is why we’re trying to explain this to kids where did these traditions come from and what does Santa Claus have to do with Jesus. Well it came from the tradition of St. Nicholas, who is a wonderful Catholic saint that helped children, who was the patron saint of children. And when we explain this, parents actually understand.   It does point back to Jesus. But there’s been an effort in our culture to kind of cut those connections for fear of offending. And again, if you don’t want to celebrate Christmas, don’t celebrate Christmas.

I think he answers the question really well.  If you don’t want to celebrate Christmas, don’t celebrate Christmas.   It would not make sense for those of us that follow Jesus Christ to ignore the meaning of Christmas in order to not potentially offend someone.  Of course, we are not trying to offend people, but we should never change the message just because some group is offended by the name of Jesus.

Jesus said, “All men will hate you because of me.”  (Luke 21:17)  He also said, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” (John 15:18)   Let’s not be afraid to share, with love, what it is we believe. “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”  (Colossians 4:6) — Merry Christmas!

For a simple children’s video on the origin of the Christmas tree from Phil Vischer’s new video series “What’s in the Bible?”  Go here –> What is the Origin of the Christmas Tree? 

Transcript Source- http://archives.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1112/04/sm.02.html

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