Twelve long months ago, America was in the throes of Holiday Shopping Season ’07. It was a simpler time. The Dow was safely over 10,000, and we were all wondering whether it would be Hillary or Giuliani in the White House come January ’09.
I push my cart carrying 250 pounds of chicken feed up to the feedstore counter. The pretty girl behind the register nods and says hello. It’s hard for her not to remember the giant white man with a beard and a Stetson who always guides five 50-pound bags through the narrow checkout lane. As she hands me the receipt, I say reflexively, “Merry Christmas.”
She looks directly at me, smiling, eyes narrowed, and nods. “Yes. Merry CHRISTMAS!”
It wasn’t a bright, elven “Yes! Merry Christmas!” She spoke with a knowing, in your face, liberal America air of defiance. And that made me smile.
Then it made me wonder. Heading back to the farm in my pickup truck, I turned down Haggard and relit my pipe when the thought occurred to me: Wonder what she thinks about the Incarnation?
I was in no position to go back to the store and assign a 500-word essay, “What Christmas Means to Me,” to the girl in jeans whose name tag I am careful not to stare at, so I was left to my own musings. She’s probably no theologian. Not many folks are these days. I’m guessing she couldn’t tell me why the words unconfusedly, immutably, indivisibly, and inseparably were so important at the Council of Chalcedon. Depending on the church she attends, or attended, she may say the words Athanasius whispered to his bishop, Alexander, at Nicea—the words that drew a line in the sand that Arius could not cross: “begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father.” She may say them, or might have said them. But does she know what they mean?
You’re expecting too much, I reply, puffing. The Baptists you grew up with didn’t say the Nicene Creed, but they knew that Jesus is fully God and fully man—and that He was born of a virgin.
So she’s a Baptist now?
Maybe—I really don’t know. I’m guessing probably not. That Merry Christmas seemed more like a countercultural protest statement, the kind that says, yeah, you’re one of us, or yeah, I’m one of you.
One of you . . . what? Believers in Christ Jesus? One of you who celebrate the Word Become Flesh? One of you who worship a Baby? The One Who made the world in six days, the One Who bore our sins in His Body on the tree, the One Who crushed the serpent’s head, the One Whom death and Hell could not hold, the One Who is returning on a white horse, Whose vesture is dipped in blood, Whose name is Faithful and True?
Or perhaps it was one of you proud white Americans.
The War Against Christmas is very real, and many brave Christians have sounded the alarm like Paul Revere, before riding out to the front to fight back. But others seem more interested in nativism than in the Nativity. Over there on that side are the enemies of America, “Western Civilization,” apple pie, baseball, democracy, Judeo-Christianism, heterosexualism, and low taxes. Over here on my side, we know that we are the greatest nation on earth, that America is great because America is good, that religion belongs in the public square and Christ belongs in Christmas. We don’t say “Ex-muss,” or “Ramadan,” Frenchie.
FOX News’s Bill O’Reilly agrees. In fact, according to himself, he is “fighting for the soul of America.” On his website, there are numerous products to purchase, including his book, Culture Warrior, in which “He examines why the nation’s motto ‘E Pluribus Unum’ (‘From Many, One’) might change to ‘What About Me?’” and
shows how the culture war has played out in such high-profile instances as The Passion of Christ, Fahrenheit 9/11, the abuse epidemic (child and otherwise), and the embattled place of religion in public life—with special emphasis on the war against Christmas.
Christmas, you see, just like Harriet Miers, has been rejected by the leftist media, because of its “anti-Christian bias.” And this is outrageous, because “85 percent of Americans say they’re Christians” and “Christmas is a federal holiday, signed into law by [President] U.S. Grant.”
If 85 percent of Americans believe that that Baby was God, then Bill is right: The War on Christmas is “insane.” Perhaps eight-and-a-half out of ten shoppers really are “absolutely offended” when they hear “Happy Holidays.” How dare these retailers deny the great majority of Americans the opportunity to confess Christ because some surrender monkey has the ACLU on the line?
In addition to Culture Warrior, defenders of Western civilization can purchase “The mug Bill calls ‘The Best Mug in the World!’” “This was a birthday present for my husband,” writes Jodi of Rockton, IL, “and he thought it was great. He showed it to my Dad and my Dad was jealous. I guess I know what to get my Dad for Christmas!” Nothing alleviates jealousy and says “veiled in flesh, the Godhead see” like a 16-ounce coffee mug that shouts Don’t Be a Pinhead.