09/20/15 – Banquet West Meal
Each year around this time, we can just about predict the sights and sounds of the coming Christmas season. I look forward to the beautiful traditional Christmas songs heard on the radio as well as the seasonal hymns that are sung in church. I look forward to visiting with friends and family. I look forward to once again celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
But there are also things that I find amusing and sometimes disturbing. I’ve made it a tradition to always keep a sharp look-out for the first Christmas TV commercial of the year. (Oct. 8th this year!) I find joy in trying to count how many commercials I can spot where the car has a gigantic bow on top of if. Recently, the catch phrase of many Christians is that there is an ongoing “War on Christmas”.
What does this “war” consist of? Many things really…
Government officials who refrain from the word “Christmas” in an attempt to avoid offending others. Retailers who greet us with “Season’s Greetings” or “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas”. The coffee house Starbucks was embroiled in a huge controversy this year when they replaced their normal Christmas cup (adorned with Christmas trees or Santa Claus) with a simple red cup.
But are these things really worth getting all worked up over? I don’t think so…
Oh, there was a time when I would scamper around and try to rally the troops in an effort to fight against this “war” on Christmas but can we really change the outcome? A wise old pastor once told me to “choose your battles carefully”. What he meant was that are things in this world that are simply out of our control and to fight against them would be to “kick against the stones”. (Acts 26:14) Our “sphere of influence” is made up of ourselves, our family and friends, neighbors, and those whom God places in our path. These are the people that God has given to us to love, provide for, and protect. Everything else is outside of our sphere of influence and we have no control over it.
I’m saying that would be silly for me to try to force a politician in Washington to use the word “Christmas” at least once in every public appearance. So I don’t worry about it. I’m not going to try to force a national retailer to greet me with the words “Merry Christmas”. So I don’t worry about it. I’m not offended when Starbucks serves my coffee in a plain red cup…
Christians are assaulted daily with messages that our society is going bad in a big way. Well, in a world broken by sin and evil desires, I suppose it was to be expected… The only thing that we have control over is how we respond to these changes. Remember that our sphere of influence includes ourselves, our family and friends, neighbors, and those whom God places in our path. Let God worry about the rest.
Have faith, the battles rage and yet the war is won!
Christ is victorious!
Pray for our congregation, our community, our country…