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"Reason's Greetings" or "Season's Greetings"

 

In 2006 officials in the state of Washington refused to permit a private citizen to put up a nativity scene in the state Capitol building next to a menorah (the candelabrum that marks Hanukkah) and a holiday tree approved for display.

The Alliance Defense Fund took the case of the citizen, real estate agent Ron Wessellius, and on Oct. 16, 2007 announced a settlement agreement.

Essentially, the Capitol Campus Facilities Policy was amended to provide that public use of Capitol facilities would be made available on a non-discriminatory basis, without regard to the religious or political content or viewpoint of the person seeking access.

That settlement agreement basically allowed the plaintiff to display a nativity scene in the commons area of the Capitol Rotunda, and it was placed in the Capitol for the 2007 Christmas season.

This year no menorah is on display. However, a 25-foot Christmas tree, strung with lights, topped by a large golden star, and surrounded by beautifully wrapped presents is prominently displayed in the state Capitol as it has been for the past twenty years.

Wessellius has his nativity scene on display once again, but the obvious symbols commemorating the true meaning of Christmas incurred the indignation of a group of atheists operating under the name of the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

The foundation’s co-president, Dan Barker, proclaimed that atheists should be afforded the right to offer their godless philosophy along with the overtly religious nativity scene and the Christmas-style holiday tree.

The FFRF appealed to the state governmental leadership, presumably Governor Chris Gregoire, and received approval to post a placard in recognition of the winter solstice.

The placard reads, “At this season of the Winter Solstice may reason prevail. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.”

The atheists’ professed commitment to “reason” has inspired them to erect billboards that read: “Reason’s Greetings” instead of “Season’s Greetings.”

Bill O’Reilly, of Fox News, commented about the placard and said, “This is political correctness gone mad.”

Rather than focusing on political correctness, the foolishness of atheism, and those who want to diminish Christmas in our society, why don’t we just practice Christmas?

If Christians and churches and Christian institutions?would just practice Christmas, we might improve our image in the world and win back lost territory the enemy has gained.

“How do we practice Christmas?” you ask. We do it by loving and giving.

The God of the Bible is a loving and giving God. It is just like Him to love and give. In fact, he demonstrates His love by giving. He desires to give. He longs to give. He even schemes and plans to give.

As far as I’m concerned, the core verse out of the two Testaments, 66 books, 1,189 chapters, 31,173 verses, 773,692 words, and 3,568,469 letters that make up the precious Word of God is John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave ….”

There it is. He gave His “only begotten Son.” To take “give” out of the Bible is like taking the bride out of a wedding. It is like taking the stars out of the sky. It is like taking notes out of music. It is like taking words out of a conversation. It is like taking food and drink out of a meal. Everything in the Bible centers on this one great truth – our God is a giving God.

What God does, He expects His children to do. One of the most hypocritical, inconsistent things for a Christian to be is stingy and tight-fisted. All through the Bible, God teaches us to give.

And Christmas, in particular, is a time for giving. It is important we see the true nature of Christmas, which is “giving.” Oh, that God would give us the wise men’s mentality. They brought their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

The world wants to emphasize the disagreements, foibles, and failures of Christians, churches, and denominations, but they somehow fail to see the benevolent and evangelistic work of our thousands of missionaries, the incredibly compassionate ministry and far-reaching impact of our disaster relief units, the sacrificial service of our military chaplains, the daunting and challenging work of our Baptist Collegiate ministers, etc.

Christians, specifically Baptists, are at their best when giving of themselves and their substance to others. This Christmas all of us would do well to give a gift to someone in need or someone who may need to know about the love of Christ.

Let the atheist, the Muslim, the cultist, the prisoner, the disenfranchised, the homeless, the defeated, the marginalized, the critic of Christianity, etc., see a glimpse of Christ’s love in us by giving them a gift or blessing them with some act of kindness.

So often at Christmas, we give gifts to those who give gifts to us. Jesus said, “For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans (tax collectors) the same?” (Matt. 5:46)

We need to love those and give to those people who might least expect us to demonstrate any measure of compassion and generosity toward them. The economy is not good, but this is a good time to sacrifice and give to others in order to demonstrate the love of Christ.

John Wesley said, “When I have any money I give it away as quickly as I can lest it find its way into my heart.”

Give to those in need. Give to the unsuspecting. Give to help your church fulfill its missions and ministry objectives. Give to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions. Give a gift to someone with whom you can also share the message of God’s unspeakable Gift to us.

Love so loud and give so generously that the most ardent atheist will at least be compelled to think about exchanging his “Reason’s Greetings” for “Season’s Greetings.”