This year I vowed to be contemporaneous. With a column that appears once a week, I seem to be always behind the latest news. In some ways that may be good for my blood pressure. This year I vowed to be pro-active with my Christmas essay. But, I needn’t worry. Christmas has been coming for 2000 years and hopefully the spirit of Christmas is already in your heart.
Unfortunately, the “nattering nabobs of negativity” like the ACLU and illiberal vocal minorities try to spoil everyone’s good cheer as they claim offence when they hear “Merry Christmas!” Don’t these malcontents know that there is enough secular as well as sacred celebrations for everyone? And if their sourpuss stifles party invitations, shopping-season savagery from Black Friday till Christmas Eve should satisfy even the most profane.
Yes, I know the old argument of separation of church and state. But why don’t I hear similar whining about Ramadan or Kwanzaa? Perhaps insensitivity or bigotry is only possible if you’re part of the majority. But, not to digress, do you realize this “wall of separation” oft tauted is not in the Constitution nor in any of the founding documents?
Thomas Jefferson was elected 3rd President of the United States and took office in 1801. We think the current political verbiage is vicious. The animus between the Federalists and Jefferson’s new political party, the Democratic Republicans, was even more so. As the Federalist John Adams left Washington some, like the baptists of Danbury, Connecticut, were worried that the new President Jefferson might establish a state religion, even though this is prohibited by the First Amendment to the Constitution. In a private letter Jefferson reassured the Baptists, pointing out that the First Amendment builds “a wall of separation between Church and State.”
Fast forward to 1947 when Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black used Jefferson’s words in a Court decision regarding travel vouchers for students. He said, “The First Amendment has erected a wall between church and state. That wall must be kept high and impregnable. We could not approve the slightest breach.” What the Court did was to use Jefferson’s private verbiage to extend Federal limitations on “establishment of religion” to state and local governments. The opinion of nine old men and now our modern political correctness “prohibit[s] the free exercise” of religion. These sacrosanct Supremes are not. Remember the Dred Scott ruling, the abortion industry which arose after Roe Vs. Wade and George Bush’s election in 2000. The Supremes are responsible for this false notion of church and state.
You might ask, what does this have to do with Christmas? I believe words are important because they are the tools we use to express ourselves. Communication is dependent on the shared understanding of a word or phrase. My grandson, Oakley learned about tree bark as I showed and explained to him the covering of a tree, comparing it to our skin.
The term Christmas comes to us from the 12th century Old English word Christemasse which translates Christ’s Mass or the Lord’s Supper. Catholics celebrate this Eucharist or communion with each worship service. My church celebrates this important sacrament each month. And for 800 years the church or body of Christ has celebrated Christ’s Mass.
However, the origin of Christmas goes back much further. Even atheists acknowledge that Jesus was born 2000 years ago, lived, preached, was summarily tried and then crucified. Christians believe Jesus rose from the dead three days later. And that’s where the fight began. Two thousand years later, non-believers howl, claiming they are somehow violated when the birth of Jesus is mentioned. It is delusional to argue that something unusual did not happen three days after Jesus’ death. Despite body snatching conspiracy theories and the might of Rome, the Christian movement persevered and spread rapidly. The world was forever changed with the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus. I am proud to say I am a disciple of the Way and I celebrate Emmanuel (God with us) everyday and every December.
Jesus was not the long awaited Jewish Messiah destined to restore Israel to its place among nations. Jesus came to give us an example of love and a standard of morality. He was a man of peace, though he had harsh words for currency exchangers in the Temple, for pharisaical hypocrites, pompous scribes and for “that fox,” King Herod.
Today “Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace…,” as did Thomas Paine before the Virginia assembly in 1775. As a disciple of Jesus, whose philosophy changed the world and my life, I try to practice love and peace. However, Thomas Paine’s comments reach across the centuries to say, “…but there is no peace. The war is actually begun!”
And this is where my turmoil begins. Am I to cry peace and turn the other cheek to jihadists and allow them to slaughter me, my family and others? Am I to allow others to banish my Lord from the streets and ears of the world?
The Pew Research Center recently published data that 8% of Muslims in America believe that terrorism or suicide bombings of citizens is sometimes or often justified to defend Islam. There are approximately five million Muslims in the US, and since 2012 Obama has brought 100,000 Syrian refugees to America. Do the math rather than listening to the lies of Washington who tell us that “ISIS is contained” and there are no “existential (existing) threats to America.
As a Christian I’m challenged to use the talents given me. Furthermore, I am to love and behave morally. It’s tough given the devolution of our country and the orchestrated chaos in the world which has now been brought to “main street.”
Paraphrasing the ancient philosopher, Epictetus, the only true freedom is your conscience. At this point in my life I know what is right, and I will celebrate a candlelight Christmas Eve celebration with peace of mind. I will continue to speak the truth in love, but stand ready to defend myself, family and neighbors. I pray the Master accepts my Christmas compromise.
Need a stocking stuffer? How about a note saying “Well…What Did the Doctor Say?” has been ordered (through Amazon or Barnes&Noble) and will arrive by Santa’s helpers!