Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. [Mark 8:34 (NLT)]
In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. [Matthew 5:16 (NLT)]
I opened the paper this morning to read an article about a school district in Kentucky that is being sued for not including a biblical reference in a school production of “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Apparently, due to a single complaint, one of Linus’s lines had been deleted by the school. The suit, filed by an attorney for the Alliance Defending Freedom, attests that when there is an educational purpose (in this case teaching theater, music, and the origins of Christmas), every court has said religious elements can be included. The contested words in the script come from the gospel of Luke: “Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in the manger. And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.’” Linus later adds, “That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.” After all, the play is not titled “A Charlie Brown Holiday.” It is about Christmas and there can be no Christmas without that little baby, the Christ child, in a manger.
In 1st Corinthians, the Apostle Paul reminded the church at Corinth to resolve their differences with one another outside of the secular courts. This situation (and many like it), however, is not a difference of opinion between believers; it is a difference between those who believe and those who don’t. Something tells me that Paul, who appealed to the legal system more than once to exercise his rights as a Roman citizen, would applaud this law suit.
On the same page as the article about keeping mention of Christ in a Christmas play was another mention of Christ. Sponsored by area businesses, it was a religious message that is written by a different local pastor each week. This week’s message was titled “Putting ‘Christ’ Back in Christian”. The author pointed out that it is not the responsibility of our secular society to keep Christ in Christmas; rather, it is the responsibility of every follower of Christ to put “Christ” back into being a Christian. In effect, while we call ourselves Christians, we seem to talk the talk far better than take the walk. Unfortunately, our lives often bear little resemblance to the Christ we are called to emulate.
While displaying nativity scenes rather than Santa’s sleigh or snowmen in our yards is a way of keeping Christ in Christmas, let’s be sure our priorities are correct. Perhaps we should put more effort into displaying Christ in our lives rather than on our lawns.
Rather than pressing to have our secular society put “Christ” back in Christmas, we who know Christ should concern ourselves with putting ‘Christ” back in Christian, beginning with our own lives, striving to be “little Christs.” [Pastor Michael Bannon]