The PewResearch Religion & Public Life Project published a report today that shows people who consider themselves to be Christians make up 78.4% of this country's population. More than 3/4 of the people in this country claim to be Christians!!! So why do we suddenly have "holiday trees" rather than Christmas trees? Why are people wishing each other a "Happy Holiday" rather than a Merry Christmas? Why are businesses no longer able to display nativity scenes? Why do schools now have "winter breaks" rather than Christmas breaks?
Last year parents of children attending the Ralph J. Osgood school on Long Island, New York, were outraged when at the school's Christmas concert, the children sang the beautiful carol Silent Night with ALL references to Christ's birth removed. I've been listening to the radio & have heard about this happening elsewhere. What is going on here?!?!? A nationwide radio station is broadcast here & they start playing Christmas music 24/7 right after Halloween. I kid you not. I listened to them off & on for a year or two after moving here. I knew something was missing, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it. It dawned on me last year. No real Christmas music. No Silent Night, no Joy to the World, no Oh Come All Ye Faithful ... nothing like that. Nothing about the real meaning of Christmas.
The focus of Christmas for too many years has been gimmie-gimmie-gimmie. Christmas for many people is kicked off by standing in a mile-long line on Black Friday just so they can elbow, shove, & trample each other to get a flat screen TV for $200 ... for themselves! Christmas commercials encourage buying expensive gifts for friends & loved ones, or worse, gifting yourself! I saw a Christmas commercial a couple years ago with the catch phrase "Don't you deserve it?" Another commercial encouraged people to "Do something nice for yourself!" Sad. Oh so sad.
John & I watched a Christmas movie the other night called Guess Who's Coming to Christmas. The family of 4 ... father, mother, son, & daughter ... have the tradition of buying only one gift for the one person in the family whose name they draw out of a jar. There is a $10 spending limit on the gift. They have this tradition so they can focus on Jesus during the season, not on what they want or what they are going to get. I indicated to John that I thought this was a nice tradition. He thought so too.