Every year, I get to listen to the outrage about the “War on Christmas.”
We are besieged by those anti-Christians who want to wish us “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”!! Nativities are torn down by raging atheists who replace these sacred scenes with generic Holiday Trees! A quick Google search reveals websites, movies, and articles dedicated to fighting this holiday menace and putting Christ back where He belongs!
My problem with this so-called war is not that we shouldn't keep Christ in Christmas. My issue with the war is that it can’t exist. A war is between two powers, each of whom have a chance of winning. Do human ideas stand a chance against the power of the Creator of the Universe? God is big enough to handle naysayers and opposition. He doesn't need to be brought back into anything; He is already there.
As a public school teacher, I face some strong opinions from some fellow believers who see public schools as places where God has been “removed.” I always answer that God is as present in public schools as He is anywhere else. I see God’s presence every day as I teach. Last week I faced a tough and potentially dangerous situation in my job, and the support I received from my kids and co-workers was full of the grace and presence of the Almighty. He hasn’t been “removed” from anywhere; He can't be.
In fact, I find myself doubting God’s power at times, more often than I like to admit. I have had a tough couple of years, and I want answers. I want to know my purpose, my future, His plan, and I want to know it all RIGHT NOW. I take this prolonged waiting period as a sign that God has given up on me. The Truth of His unchanging power and love and goodness escapes my limited understanding.
During this Advent season, I have been thinking a lot about hope and waiting in darkness. Israel waited in 400 years of silence before the birth of Christ, the Redeemer. And when He did arrive, it was in human form as a “regular guy” from Nazareth, living a modest life as the child of a carpenter. Thirty years of God dwelling among us before He began His public ministry and ultimate mission.
Did the waiting mean God wasn't there?
Of course not. It was all part of the Plan to save us.
One of Jesus’ names is Immanuel, meaning God With Us. This prophecy from Isaiah 7 is a part of the Christmas story that we return to every year during this season. It would do us good to remember this fundamental Truth year round. God with us.
In modern culture. In our jobs. In our trials and joys. With us, everywhere and always.