Tonight as I was driving to the church for the First Presidency's Christmas Devotional, I was listening to the local Christian radio station. Christian rock isn't half bad sometimes, and I've recently enjoyed their selection of Christmas music. After the song ended, they played a station identifier about why they were a good radio choice for the Christmas season. The announcer spoke and then they played some clips of listeners. The first woman said something along these lines: "This time of year isn't just about Santa, but also the religious reason."
I understand that there are lots of mid-winter holidays being celebrated by lots of different people. Hanukkah. Kwanzaa. Festivus. Each has their own traditions and holiday focus. But this was a Christian radio station talking about Christmas, and this woman didn't seem to be brave enough to say "but more about celebrating the birth of Christ."
I find it sad that we're afraid to stand up and say "I am a Christian!" when the situation is appropriate. When it's not appropriate to just come out and say it, it's just as important to live our lives the way He would have us live.
I take offense when people say X-mas instead of Christmas. In fact, when I noticed that the Christmas tree farm we went to yesterday had "Xmas trees" on their last couple of directional signs, I had half a mind to turn around and go somewhere else. I don't mind when people say "Happy Holidays" or other politically correct statements, but I do mind when they take Christ out of Christmas.
On a related note, an agnostic friend of mine and I were chatting the other day and he sent me the following picture.
All I said in verbal response was "Interesting." Religious discussions don't usually go over well with this person, so I left it at that. However, I find myself agreeing with it. Through the miracle of the Atonement, Jesus suffered all of our pains, sufferings, illnesses, addictions, hurts, etc. What we do unto the least of these, including ourselves, we do it unto Him. This is, of course, that we may return home to the Lord and Savior, despite our failings. I felt that this was the artist's interpretation of this belief.
Then this friend sent me this.
I responded "Now this I don't agree with". To which he said "Then you obviously don't have a sense of humor." "No, I just generally don't appreciate humor about those I consider deity."
That's where our conversation ended for the day. To me, the painting these men are making fun of represents one of the most important events in the history of the world, and I would never take it lightly. Later that same evening, when I happened to catch Bruce Almighty on TV, I wondered if I was contradicting myself and enjoying something that was humorous about God. I decided that the end of the film has a very touching message about the nature of God, and our role as His children.
I love Heavenly Father and His son, Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for all that They have given me, and I take my covenants with Them very seriously. I'm not perfect, but I know They love me anyway. And They love you.
Jesus Christ is the reason for Christmas. I'm not afraid to say it.