Peace and joy

  • December 16, 2010
nativityEvery December the media runs stories on corporations or individuals who deliver bah-humbugs regarding the religious truth of Christmas. And without fail many Christians take the bait and allow anger and frustration to dilute their sense of peace and goodwill of the season.

As an example, this year a billboard battle has erupted on either side of the Lincoln tunnel connecting New Jersey and New York City. On one side, a group calling itself American Atheists purchased space to declare: “You Know it’s a Myth. This Season, Celebrate Reason.” Across the river, the Catholic League responded with a billboard that proclaims: “You Know it’s Real. This season, Celebrate Jesus.”

All of this is great if you’re in the business of selling space on billboards. The cost of each campaign is estimated at $20,000. But what it has to do with Christmas is perplexing.

Past faith-bashing promotions have demonstrated that atheists have more money than common sense, so this latest waste of money is unsurprising. It’s interesting, however, that they readily denigrate a Christian holiday but are mute on the holy days of Jews, Muslims or people of other faiths. Are they anti-religion or just anti-Christian?

But it’s even harder to grasp why a Catholic group chose to join this spending parade. If the intent was to proclaim the true meaning of Christmas, a short drive along the inner-city streets of New York would reveal many charitable causes thankful to receive $20,000.

Persecution of Christians is much in the news, and with good reason. Badgering from atheists, though, hardly qualifies as persecution. A nuisance, sure, but hardly persecution. In many parts of the world Christians are routinely harassed, assaulted and often killed. Our thoughts and prayers this time of year should be with forsaken faithful in places like Iraq, Pakistan and China, but instead we are too often distracted by gaggles of attention-seekers who belittle worship for amusement.

So this Christmas let’s pay no heed to the Scrooges in our midst. Let’s not share their anger and pettiness as we celebrate the season. As others wage their myopic war on Christmas, Christians should respond without acrimony or pettiness by becoming living examples of the peace and joy of the season.

Our obligation is to keep Christ at the centre of Christmas in our homes, churches, schools and wherever else we gather in faith. It’s not a time to be distracted by naysayers. Let them  chirp amongst themselves. Christmas is when we empty our hearts of malevolence in celebration of the greatest gift mankind has ever received. It is a time to acknowledge the unfailing love of our God by slowing down our frenetic pace and experiencing the peace and charity of the season, and the holiness of the miracle birth.

To all our readers, a blessed and Merry Christmas.

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