Shadow Boxing

This past Sunday, we took the entire family to a Sunday matinée theater-production of “A Christmas Carol”. The children were so cute, fascinated with every creative aspect – dancing, strolling carolers, singing – so much so, they’re still re-enacting favorite scenes.

There was one tense moment, at the very beginning, when Scrooge delivered his grumpy, heart-of-stone “boiled with his own pudding” line at which Daniel’s Autism kicked into high gear.

Rising from his chair, he thrust a shaking pointer finger at Scrooge, fully intending to confront what he perceived to be a personal attack.

In Daniel’s World, the entire audience had melted away.

Fortunately, what he lacks in the ability to interpret intent or to modulate his voice, I make up for in speed. Before he tempestuously sputtered more than, “You!”, he found himself muffled and transported, firmly held in my lap.

Quickly remembering his manners, he stage-whispered, to the chuckling-amusement of those around us, ““Oh! Sorry! So, Mommy, he’s one of those people who hates God, isn’t he!”

Out of the mouth of babes.

Scrooge’s heart-of-stone Christmas sentiments should be emblazoned across ACLU and atheist websites and doorways across our Nation, as good a mission statement as any describing their ongoing rage against Jesus Christ.

Those who are dead to Him would scoff at the suggestion their attempts to remove Santa as being “too religious”, silence lips uttering Merry Christmas, ban children from playing Christ in a Christmas pageant, and remove Christmas music from public streets has anything to do with hating Christ.

They would claim, they are fighting for Constitutional rights, freedom from religion, or that they’re desirous of a more “inclusive” message. My favorite denial of any wrong-doing is that the so-called “war on Christmas” is really a Christian-concocted war against secularists. In contrast, a Rabbi questions if perhaps Jews should be more supportive of Christmas, as a means of supporting religious rights for everyone.

I miss the days when December was a time of peace and not a time when Christians waged their own war against those already condemned. Truth be told, I am not offended, but instead grieved, if strangers don’t return my “Merry Christmas” greetings because, “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3:18”

Christ is the only giver of incorruptible gifts, unlike Santa for whom I’ve had little need. As far as so-called Christmas songs, I could see myself rejoicing if the ACLU successfully removed so-called Christmas songs from public places. Never hearing the likes of “Santa Baby” and “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer,” would be heaven. I’d be perfectly content if Psalmody filled the Lord’s airwaves over streets, throughout auditoriums and shopping malls. Oh, my, can you image the outrage.

So as not to appear as if I’m a complete curmudgeon, I’d like to retain the Christmas greenery tradition, evergreen color symbolizing His gift of ever-lasting life, and the Holly’s thorny leaves and scarlet berries representing the Saviour’s sufferings.

Isaiah 5:20 (NASB) Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!

On the other hand, reading Isaiah’s words, how many symbols of the Christmas season could easily be called idols – replacements and distractions that keep our hearts and minds occupied, or too easily satisfied, instead of growing in a deeper grace and knowledge of Christ.

Early American New England Puritans, disgusted by holiday reveries of merry old England, did back in the 17th century what the ACLU is trying to do in the 21st century – outlaw Christmas, albeit, for very different reasons.

“The generality of Christmas-keepers observe that festival after such a manner as is highly dishonourable to the name of Christ. How few are there comparatively that spend those holidays (as they are called) after an holy manner. But they are consumed in Compotations, in Interludes, in playing at Cards, in Revellings, in excess of Wine, in mad Mirth—Reverend Increase Mather, 1687 …”

God is Sovereign. Maybe, just maybe, to the ACLU’s and atheists disgust, maybe He is using them and their efforts to remove the temptation of Christmas from His children in order that they search for a deeper meaning than cookies, gifts, parties, generally-meaningless cards, and more importantly, engaging in a battle with those who are outsiders.

Colossians 2:15 When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him. Christ triumphed over the spirits of darkness. He crushed the evil angels and all their powers. He was given all power declaring them to be powerless as to His work and His people (Eph 1:21) In other words, he ACLU and Atheists are defeated.

Why do we, who confess Christ as Lord, act as if Christ lied – why do we behave as if He had no Victory? Why do we act as a people who are blind to His truth. Christ’s triumph over those subjected to Him, is not a triumph for destruction, but for their salvation, so that good angels may be referred to (Col 1:20). Christ’s death removed the ordinances, a yoke to the Jews, a partition wall to the Gentiles, so “that the Shadows fled,” said Matthew Henry. Yet here we are, in the year of our Lord 2007, frenzied Christians protesting man-focused, not Christ-focused traditions.

Even if those of a vain and perverted mind, following after the world and not after the Saviour, eliminated every speck of red (for the shedding of his blood) and green (like the great Cedars of Lebanon) colour from the earth, so as to wipe out any reminder of the man-made Christmas displays, we can be assured that God’s justice can never be eliminated, rewarding man “according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath” (Rom. 2:6-8).

I think there’s one final thing for Christians to consider.

How fool hardly it is to expend energy shadow-boxing an enemy that isn’t a reality?

Each and every time the lost try to dismantle public displays and symbols of Christmas, they are only confirming His reality.

Each and every time we protest their behavior (for how do we expect them to behave other than hateful?) we are acting as if they have any real power, and we’re diminishing Christ.

Just like my son, Daniel, we should be careful how we react, not misinterpreting attitudes of others as if they carry meaning and weight to us personally.

  Textile help