“Joyous Kwanzaa.” “Happy Hanukkah.” “Merry Christmas.” “Happy Ramadan.”
So proclaims the secularist “holiday” poster that greets visitors to the office building where I labor.
The building owner obviously thought the poster noncontroversial. But this Christ follower found it offensive.
Because the upcoming holiday is not about Kwanza, the seven-day afrocentric celebration created in 1965, nor Hanukkah, the eight-day Jewish festival hardly celebrated until the 1970s, and certainly not Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting that actually takes place in June.
No, Jesus is the reason for the season.
It is the annual acknowledgement of the fulfillment two mellennia ago of the Messianic pronouncements of the prophet Isaiah seven centuries earlier:
“Unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
It is a celebration of the miraculous birth of the one whom John the Baptizer declared “The Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world.”
It is a season of thanks-giving to God for His mercy, for His grace; Who “so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
That’s what Christmas has been about since the holy-day was first celebrated in the fourth century. And since the commemoration of the birth of Christ was declared a national holiday here in the United States in 1870.
Of course, there are forces of darkness in this world that hate Christmas; that want to disassociate the holiday from Jesus Christ.
That includes American Atheists, which describes itself as “the premier organization fighting for the civil liberties of atheists and the total, absolute separation of government and religion.”
The homepage on AA’s website declares “War on Christmas.” It depicts a little girl – actually rather demonic-looking – sitting down writing a letter in which she tells Santa Claus: “All I want for Christmas is to skip church!”
More passively hostile to Christmas are retailers that have replaced “Merry Christmas” in their advertisements with the insidious “Happy Holidays.”
That includes Barnes & Noble, Footlocker, Gap Stores (parent company of the Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy), Limited Brands (parent company of the Limited, Bath & Body Works and Victoria’s Secret), L.L. Bean and Radio Shack.
Then there are the religiously correct workplaces that no longer allow Christmas to have a holiday to itself; that have given such dubious holidays as Kwanzaa, Hanukkah and Ramadan equal billing with Christmas.
But there is a reason Christmas remains the world’s biggest religious holiday.
It is not because of all the secularist trappings of Christmas – the office parties, the shopping, the ritualistic gift-giving, the ornament-laden trees, the ostentatious lighting displays, the orgiastic meals.
No, it is because of Jesus.
It is because the Holy Spirit moves in a powerful way during the Christmas season. It is because many are convicted during their once a year visit to church.
And it is because there will be “more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents” this upcoming Christmas Day “than over ninety-nine just persons” sitting in the pews “who need no repentance.”