Monday, December 2, 2013

Happy Holidays to the Christians in America

Alternate Title: Live in Peace, A Biblical Command.

With Thanksgiving officially over, the creeping in of the Christmas season no longer has to be as "secretive" as it was prior to the Thanksgiving mark.

Already, Christmas items are in stores, Christmas music is everywhere, Christmas trees & lights are going up, and Christmas-themed posts are on facebook.

The sad thing is, I read a lot of facebook posts along the lines of "If someone wishes me 'Happy Holidays!' I will reply 'Merry Christmas!' because I believe in keeping Christ in Christmas. Repost this if you agree."

My indirect confrontation of these types of posts is the following "open letter." (My direct response is typically to rant about the post to my husband and then to hide the post in question from my wall, for in my facebook, I am like a queen with the power of banishment of all things political & argumentative.)

Dear brothers & sisters in Christ,

Someone wishing you 'Happy Holidays' is not an attack on Christmas. It is recognizing that we live in a multicultural world.

As I pass you in the streets or hand you my debit card (in the case of cashiers, but hopefully not thieves), I don't know if you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa (and Kwanzaa again because I found two good summary articles), or Eid (al adha), so I wish you a happy celebration of your choice (by the way, Hanukkah & Eid al adha are lunar-based holidays, so they may or may not be around December 25th, they sort of float around).

'Happy Holidays!' is not an attack on your faith if you translate it as "I'm not sure what your religion is, but I hope you have a good celebration." Or you could just translate it as "Merry Christmas." That's what do when strangers wish me 'Happy Holidays!'

When I see your facebook post like the generic example above, I see you throwing down the gauntlet & balling up your fists waiting for the first attack on your faith. I recommend the movie Christmas with a Capital C for a good perspective check.

I have 5 groups of verses that I recommend that you read.
Romans 12:17-21
2 Corinthians 13:11
1 Thessalonians 5:12-24
1 Timothy 2:1-4
Hebrews 12:14-15

If you don't have the time or desire to read ALL those verses (there's 25 verses, Liz!!!), here is my summary:

Romans 12:17-21...Don't repay evil for evil. Do what is right in others' eyes. "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." Don't take revenge. Overcome evil with good.

2 Corinthians 13:11...Rejoice. Work for full restoration (not quite sure what that means). Encourage each other. Have unity. *Live in peace.*

1 Thessalonians 5:12-24 (sorry, I liked the surrounding verses a little *too* much)...Acknowledge your hard workers & highly regard them. *Live in peace with each other.* Warn the idle & disruptive. Encourage the disheartened. Help the weak. *Be patient with everyone.* *Don't pay back wrong for wrong.* Try to do what's good for each other & others. Always rejoice, continually pray, give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will.

1 Timothy 2:1-4...Petition God on behalf of, pray for, intercede for, & give thanks for all people, including those in authority, so we can live peaceful, quiet, godly, and holy lives. This is good & pleases God (who wants everyone to be saved).

Hebrews 12:14-15...Do all you can to live in peace with everyone...and to be holy. Make sure that no one falls short of God's grace. Make sure there's not bitter root growing up to cause trouble.

To summarize the summary:

Live in peace.
Pray for <insert all people>. Pray for those in leadership, including President Obama. Pray for those of different religions. Pray for those who consider themselves Christians but spewing hate with their words & actions. Pray for those believers on the other side of the political spectrum than you.
Be patient with everyone
Don't repay wrong for wrong or evil for evil.
Don't allow the bitter root of "the only proper holiday greeting in December is 'Merry Christmas!'" to grow & cause trouble.

CELEBRATE the birth of Jesus!
ANTICIPATE His return!!
REJOICE that salvation has come in the form of Jesus.

So, dear brothers & sisters,
Happy holidays. The happy holy-day for us is Christmas, so Merry Christmas.

your sister-in-Christ,

Liz of the Niche

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