East Of Eden

"A curious mix of the relevant and reverential"


Jon Acuff writes at Stuff Christians Like:

Recently, someone emailed me a photo of this billboard[.]

My first thought was, “Do you know why Jesus misses hearing you say Merry Christmas? Because no one said it to him in the Bible.”

It’s true. When Joseph held the sweet baby Jesus in his arms, he didn’t say, “Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night.”

The wisemen didn’t get down off their awesome camels and say, “Here are some Christmas gifts.”


Even decades later, the disciples didn’t have a Christmas party. Peter never said to Jesus, “I got you a notebook Jesus because I know how much Christians like to journal. Merry Christmas!” And Jesus didn’t respond with, “You shouldn’t have! I got you a pair of Chacos because, good grief, we sure do walk a lot and we love sandals!”

The disciples didn’t have an ugly Christmas sweater contest. They didn’t correct heathens at the local watering hole who were saying, “Happy Holidays.” They didn’t have a candlelight service. They didn’t yule log at all.

I remember when the whole "War on Christmas" thing was heating up a few years ago, I felt annoyed that so many public places were going out of their way to *not* use the word "Christmas". Holiday trees, sales and pagents, but Heaven forbid the "C" word should be used.

But I also grew annoyed at the "War" itself. So many Christians got caught up in demanding that their cashier use the greeting "Merry Christmas. I wondered if, at the end of the day, it truly mattered that the teen scanning your ornaments and candy canes at Target had used the phrase. 

Bill O'Reilly recently said on his show, in the midst of defending the right of Christmas to not be banned from the public sphere, that:

But Christianity is not an organized religion, a church that can be imposed. There are many different churches that promote the Christian philosophy in many different ways.


Does the atheist think the federal government is promoting Mormonism? Lutheranism? Catholicism? What? After that interview the crazy Web site People emerged screaming that I'm wrong. Christianity is indeed a religion. This people are so stupid, it's painful.

Christianity is a philosophy. You don't have to believe Jesus is God in order to admire his view on life.

I think Billy Boy is pretty much right. While Christianity is a philosophy, it was most definitely a religion first, and for many, many people across the globe it still is.  I get what he's saying, though.

What irked me about it (yes, I'm sure some of you are wondering how O'Reilly himself didn't getting me all riled up, but that's for another post), is how my faith, the tenets of my life, in recent weeks, my very lifeline, could all be boiled down to just a "philosophy". No Immanuel, just Jesus, a great guy who taught some great things. "Judeo-Christian" heritage and such, blah, blah, blah.

And so what do we have? My Target cashier saying "Merry Christmas," plenty of Christmas trees in front of City Halls across the country, and oh so many people not knowing what the Incarnation is actually about. A happy holiday, indeed.


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