In a recently published Huffington Post article titled, Christmas Doesn’t Belong to Christians, the author claims to offer advice to his fellow Christians: “Christmas isn’t ours“. Over the course of this short essay, I will quote from the author and offer some words to show their folly.
As we read along we are reminded from the author that there weren’t any Christians present at the great event of our Saviour’s Nativity. Semantically speaking, this is correct as the term Christian is not coined for several years, as we read in the Acts of the Apostles. But our author seems to be either short-sighted or one-sided in trying to present a point.
“That first Christmas was truly an interfaith event – there just weren’t any Christians there.”
Reading a bit further, the author’s true point is revealed, showing an astounding piece of scholarly prowess! The author goes further to cite the Quranic references to the birth of Jesus, using this in a quantum-leap of ecumenical logic to suggest that somehow, someway, the birth of Jesus, though recounted differently in different faiths, was NOT the fulfillment of God’s plan to save mankind from the tyranny of evil. This was Christianity’s opinion, as it were.
Though this is a kind gesture so as not to offend our heterodox friends, the author states in a most remarkable, incredulous, manner:
“I’d like to suggest that we remember our non-Christian neighbors and friends as well. Western and Eastern Christians have all along believed that in Jesus, God became a human being, but that doesn’t mean that God became a Christian. The person of Jesus is a human and a historical phenomenon, and therefore all human beings, and indeed all religious traditions, have the right (and perhaps the duty) of making sense of Jesus. It’s not Christians’ place to police this process or to dictate how others respond. That’s part of the mystery.”
Indeed, we all have a choice to accept the mystery of the Incarnation – was it merely a historic event or was it something greater. This really cuts to the heart of the matter. If Christmas is changed to JUST a celebration of the birth of Jesus, then suddenly other faiths can find it more palatable to their own dogmas and beliefs. What is lacking is the remembrance of the birth of the Saviour. This is the reason that the first Christmas changed the world, for it was not merely an ambassador, nor an angel that was born, but the very God-man Himself. This is the fulfillment of God’s promise to His people as foretold by the Prophets. This is the message of Great Joy to ALL peoples! We all have the free will to either accept this or to reject it. If we change it, in any way, we have rejected the fundamental truth.
“…and none of the characters in the story, from the holy family to the startled shepherds, would have held anything close to an orthodox “Christian” theology of incarnation or atonement or Trinity.”
Academically speaking, the author is correct in their assertion that no one present at that first Christmas held an “Orthodox Theology” as understood today. Indeed, Christian theology was not formulated for several centuries in that the sacred Canons and teachings of the Fathers had yet to be written. However, these dogmas WERE revealed, albeit under the shadow of the Old Law. They became clear with the Nativity of our Saviour. We CAN state with confidence that those present had an Orthodox faith because they were witnesses of the Truth and held the right belief, for they beheld God in front of them, incarnate of the Virgin. We can use this same logic to claim that the Prophets of the Old Testament were Orthodox and held an “Orthodox Theology” because they “rightly believed” in God, Who spoke to them. This is the God of both the Old and New Testaments – the One Who is; The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; the Truth, the Resurrection, and the Life.
In these times we see a growing ignorance and apathy concerning our dear faith. It is assaulted from without and within by so-called theologians and scholars. This ignorance has cooled and hardened the hearts of men. The transformation of Christmas is occurring before our eyes. The war on Christmas has become a pitched-battle though finally the strategy has been revealed – remove the truth of the incarnation of God, and Christmas becomes just another cute, yet antiquated festival on the altar of ecumenical tolerance and revelry.
Rarely do I offer much attention to the commentary to such articles, but in this case I found this response to the original article to be spot-on and worth sharing!
“We are now in the 21st century, and Christmas as an event means some very distinct things to Christians of today. Islam came around about 500 years later after the birth of Christ, and followers of Islam (and of other faiths) simply do not factor into what Christmas IS. Interesting, but not relevant. Christians do not need the support of other faiths’ viewpoints to legitimize what the holiday really means. It seems sometimes that we are heading towards some great interfaith celebration, which may soon be known as “holiday.” We already have Happy Winter, Season’s Greetings, and various other nebulous terms used in place of Merry Christmas. How about we drop all of this offense and offensiveness when it comes to holy days of various faiths and simply help our neighbors enjoy THEIR holy days without trying to change them or come up ways to show they are just like our own. I do not want to see a Christmas tree play a part in a Hanukkah celebration, nor an colored egg hunt at an Eid celebration. And, I would like Christmas to retain the true meaning it has had for Christians for almost 2000 years, unchanged by what non- Christians feel or believe. Celebrating Christmas is not meant to make anyone uncomfortable or to offend anyone. It would be so much better if people would not assume this is the case, but instead share in our joy, as many of us have done by partaking in the holy days of other faiths.