The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


December 16, 2005

War or peace?

Until last week I didn’t know about The War on Christmas...at least not the one declared by John Gibson in his book by that name which today ranks 252 in amazon.com sales. But there I was, hearing him tell me about a liberal plot to end my freedom to practice my faith—his fury coming though loud, if not entirely clear, from the TV set in the body shop where I was waiting for a new right-side mirror to be installed. It was 5p.m., the time his show, “The Big Story” airs on the Fox News Channel.

He was particularly put out that evening by stores in malls where the shopping bags were festooned with “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings.” He reminded viewers that the majority of shoppers in this nation where the majority of people are Christians are out buying CHRISTMAS presents—not HOLIDAY presents!

Is that what it’s all about—making the malls safe for Christian consumers? Someone else on the show actually asked that question, which Gibson huffed away as so much more liberal subversion. The subtitle of the book, I should point out, is “How the Liberal Plot to Ban the Sacred Christian Holiday Is Worse Than You Thought.” Oh my.

There must be more: Gibson’s book is a hefty 256 pages. The amazon.com description does point out four examples of state or local governments or public schools eliminating Christmas displays or carols. But there is nothing about preventing Christians from putting up Nativity scenes in front of their churches and homes or sending carolers, with plates of cookies, to nursing homes.

There’s nothing about stopping the followers of Jesus to honor his birth by working in soup kitchens or sending socks to those serving in Iraq—just two ways of caring for those who are hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison.

Christians do have a choice: We could read Gibson’s book, join his battle. Or we could open our Bibles to Matthew 25:34-46, heeding Jesus' words that when we do “to one of the least of these”  we do, also, to him. We could add our voices to Luke’s heavenly host, "...on Earth, peace, goodwill toward all!"

Merry Christmas!

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