I find myself rolling my eyes quite a bit this time of year as our annual "culture wars" hit fever pitch. It seems that someone is always harping about how Jesus is being stripped away from our national celebration of the Christmas holiday. Already this year, we endured "Cup-gate" followed by an analysis of every coffee cup any national chain has released for the holidays. I personally don't drink Starbucks, but that has to do with my disdain for over-priced, burnt brew. With all the brouhaha this year, I was tempted to go buy a cup of coffee at Starbucks just to rebel against any ignorance.
But I don't like over-priced, burnt coffee. So I didn't.
It wasn't too long ago that when somebody wished me "Happy Holidays" or "Seasons Greetings", I received their words with warmth and appreciation, responding in kind, but now even those words seem to be loaded. Has our civility become a casualty of perpetual culture war? Why are we so offended all the time? Why are we surprised that the marketplace-- or the nation -- doesn't share our faith or have any real desire to follow Jesus Christ?
The truth is, the only people who have ever really valued the message of Jesus Christ are those who have chosen to receive his gift of salvation and follow him. Words are cheap -- and so are coffee cups, decorations, and marketing campaigns. What happens in the public square, the halls of government, or the marketplace cannot take away our love for Jesus Christ and each other.
Is our faith so fragile that we need it to be affirmed by franchises?
When Jesus was born, the angel Gabriel announced "Peace on Earth and Goodwill to All". If the Christian is going to reflect anything at all of Christ during the Christmas holidays, it will be peace and goodwill. I am confident that Jesus calls us to follow him, not engage in culture wars or incivility. The Prince of Peace does not want us to belittle the true cause of Christ by engaging in petty culture wars.
And this comes from the One who was born into a culture that would eventually kill him. If the hate comes, it comes -- but we follow Christ with humility before God and a love for neighbor.
So here's my advice this holiday (excuse me...Christmas): choose not to be offended, seek peace, do good, and trust Christ with your faith and honor him with your life.