We forget history. It is one of the main reasons why we continue to make the same mistakes over and over. That lack of proper perspective distorts our views and, therefore, we act irrationally. Anxiety is a common side effect, as we tend to treat as eternal things that are just temporary and treat as temporary things that are eternal.
The “war on Christmas” we have seen in recent years serves as a simple illustration. Recent developments include ESPN’s refusal of an ad from the Cardinal Glennon Children’s Foundation, saying the words “God” and “Jesus” were “problematic,” and an atheist group spending big bucks on a New York billboard that read “Who needs Christ during Christmas?”
The billboard hits at something worth noting. It is Christ whom they are fighting against. It’s not really Christmas. Paul found the same thing on the road to Damascus as he persecuted the early church in Acts.
[S]uddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. …”
Wanting to get rid of Christians, Paul really was going against Christ. Today, those who fight to get rid of Christmas do the same.
They’ve tried using “X-mas” or “Happy Holidays” to take down the offensive “Christ” part. In terms of symbols, they go after the nativity, preferring
Christmas Holiday trees or wreaths. The baby is the offense. The Christ.
For you see, they can’t deny Jesus. They can deny God, but Jesus is an historical fact. We have as much evidence about Jesus’ life as any other historical figure. That is why even atheists have to accept that He was a real man who lived and taught and died by crucifixion. They can choose to deny His deity and His resurrection, but not Him. And not His Words.
And His words are like none other:
Blessed are the poor in spirit …
Blessed are those who mourn …
Blessed are the meek …
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness …
Blessed are the merciful …
Blessed are the pure in heart …
Blessed are the peacemakers …
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake …
He demanded we “love [our] enemies, do good to those who hate [us], bless those who curse [us], and pray for those who spitefully use [us].” And when they strike us in one cheek, he said, “offer the other also.”
These ideas are revolutionary and, indeed, “problematic.”
To those accusing the woman caught in adultery, wanting to stone her to death, He confronted them with their own sin: “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”
That’s the Christ Whose birth we celebrate on Christmas. The One who said the greatest commandments are to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Who said, “Judge not, that you be not judged.”
He restored the sick, healed the brokenhearted, and fought for the oppressed. He gave us freedom. But only through obedience.
That’s offensive! He confirms that we are not masters of our universe. We are not in control of everything. We are dependent. How un-American!
Jesus’ life and words are so powerful, atheists can’t get them out of their minds. It’s not enough just to continue living. As some have pointed out, we don’t believe in unicorns, but we don’t spend thousands of dollars putting up billboards in Time Square saying, “Unicorns are not real.” That’s because it is not quite the same, is it? Jesus bothers us. He calls on us. He loves us, even while we reject Him.
You can’t just shake Him off. C.S. Lewis, who called himself, “the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England,” commented how hard he had to work to be an atheist. That is why they have to fight Christmas and put up billboards and do all they can to remain atheists. To get rid of this Christ who continues to hound their daily thoughts. They will try anything.
In that sense they might benefit from a historical perspective. Remember, Christ was killed by those who wanted to put His “movement” to death.
How did that turn out for them?