December 4 - 11, 2006


Victory in the 'War on Christmas'? Ho, ho, ho!

Now that Wal-Mart and other retailers have relented, instructing workers to greet holiday shoppers with the phrase "Merry Christmas" instead of "Happy Holidays," pundits are declaring victory in the "War on Christmas." And they are SO wrong. "Peace with honor," perhaps. But not victory.

As I noted in a column last year, the real War on Christmas is not between Christians and shopkeepers who greet customers with "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas." That tempest-in-a-teapot shows the degree to which Christians have already lost the War on Christmas. The war's over.

In fact, retailers and advertisers long ago seized control of Christmas and now are serving as the army of occupation in Christmasland, condescendingly silencing feeble voices of protest through trivial concessions. Those who quibble over how retailers greet customers are just the oppressed peoples seeking better living conditions. In effect, they are saying: 

We will accept the domination of Christmas by the commercial interests of advertising and retailing. We will not challenge the underlying assumptions that our love for family and friends is best expressed, if not exclusively expressed,  through lavish giving. We will not question whether overconsumption is the best way to celebrate the arrival of God in the world in the form of a human baby born in a barn to poor parents and who would spend his most spiritually productive years as a penniless wandering rabbi who encouraged his followers to mistrust wealth and instead store up treasures in heaven. All these things are perfectly OK with us, just so long as you wish us "Merry Christmas" when we come into the door.

This week we have a number of resources to equip you to fight the Christmas war and claim for yourself and your family the true meaning of Christmas: Love, hope, faith, charity, miracles and light. I pray that this year you will join the growing movement of Christians everywhere to become real Christmas revolutionaries who dare to define the holiday as a holy-day, and to measure its success by crowded churches instead of crowded shopping malls..

-Rob Blezard, editor and webmaster

(Reprint rights granted for nonprofit use by local church organizations, provided the following notice accompanies the essay: Copyright (c) 2005, the Rev. Robert Blezard, Used by permission.)

New this week:

Should we teach stewardship to children?
"YES" is the answer to the question posed in the title of this informative resource.. "In today’s world, children are bombarded with materialistic messages that often lead to a sense of entitlement and to frustration and dissatisfaction with life. Stewardship can help kids find peace and joy in a crazy world.” Click here for “Should we teach stewardship to children?"; from The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis.

  Buy gifts-- for those who need them
"Often the recipients have so much already that it is hard to figure out what to give them.  Grandparents and parents have to coordinate so that the children do not receive duplicates or even triplicates of popular seasonal offerings.” Click here for the latest weekly column by Pastor Dana Reardon. To read past columns, click here.

Taking back Christmas
"Christmas is about the transformation of our world into the world God wants it to be. It is about our transformation into the beloved community. It is about God’s selfless love poured out on a world desperately in need of a savior. Somebody please tell me what this has to do with parents fighting to purchase the latest toy fad?" Wow! Put stewardship in perspective!  Click here for the “Take back Christmas!”  From Presbyterians Today, the magazine of the Presbyterian Church USA.

Open to God's surprises:
"Congregationally based stewardship begins with the steadfast recounting of the story of the riches of God’s grace lavished upon us in Jesus Christ, crucified and risen." Click here for “ Open to God's Surprises,” from The Lutheran Laity Movement archives. This week’s Treasure Chest offering.