Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Finishing up this Christmas Wars stuff…

Well...for most Christians, Christmas is over for another year.  I think the Orthodox celebration, at least for those who still follow the "old calendar," takes place on January 6th....but for most mainstream denominations,  Christmas 2010 is history.  I intended to post more about the Christmas Wars. I read quite a bit about it but didn't actually get the reading morphed into a blog post. 

My own brush with the Christmas Wars was pretty limited.  Keith and I had a few discussions about it.  We see the phenomena from a different perspective. 

As far as experientially....concerning holiday greetings, two come to mind. 

I stopped at the liquor store, to purchase a few bottles of wine to have on hand for the holiday celebration.  A sixtyish, midrange friendly guy checked me out.  We talked a bit while he ran my debit card. I told him that I usually wait until the morn of December 24'th to think about purchasing wine. And I am usually not the only one because the little liquor store down the road from me is always amazingly busy...and the shelves rather bare on Christmas Eve morn. 

As I was leaving, without over thinking anything, in fact without even thinking about it at all, I extended my best wishes to the clerk by saying "have a great holiday!!" I wasn't thinking about the Christmas thing when I said it.  I was tired after running all over the place that Saturday morning. The liquor store was my last stop and I was sincerely wishing him...and his....a nice holiday.  He responded by clearly and purposefully wishing me a Merry Christmas.  To which I responded....Merry Christmas to you, too. 

If not for all this Christmas Wars stuff, the exchange would not have even registered.  I would have chalked it up to "season's greetings" and "goodwill to men" but now every exchange takes on this subtle undertone. 

The other check out experience that sticks in the brain waves was at Sam's on December 22nd.  Getting close to the actual day.  The mall parking lot was packed....Sam's not as much.  Sort of like the peak of a Saturday...or Sunday....afternoon.  I had a piece of pizza...did my shopping and checked out. 

The people in front of me...a woman older than me and her grown son, kind of doddered around.  Not sure exactly the hold up.  Something to do with the card or the purchase, whatever, I was preoccupied with my mental inventory of what was left to do before Christmas.  The clerk was very friendly.  Not a fake friendly.  She was cheerful and polite.  At the end of the checkout process, she sincerely wished me a happy holiday.  I wished her one as well.  No mention of Christmas. 

Now for a faithful soldier in the Christmas Wars (pro Christmas) this would have been taken as a slight, a defeat in battle.  Sam's might be blacklisted. 

Because, yes, there are actually sites that report on the content and sincerity of the greetings doled out by checkout clerks....those initiated by the clerks and those initiated by the good soldiers in this fight.  If the soldier initiates the greeting (already a minus in their eyes) and the response is not enthusiastic enough or does not actually include the words "Merry Christmas" that too is counted as a slight and goes against the store.  Think I'm kidding?  Check out the many comments on the website called Stand Up For Christmas. Or how about the one below.

Just the usual “happy holidays” crap from sales people … to which I shout “MERRY CHRISTMAS!!” What hogwash.

By all means shout your Christmas greetings to get your point across about the reason for the season and all.....

And then there are others who employ technology to rank a store's Christmas Spirit.  The following was about Banana Republic....

Rating: Christmas-Offensive
Comment: I clicked on their ad and used their search function. Typing in "Christmas gifts" I got "Holiday gifts." Narrowing my search, I typed in "Christmas" and got "0 results for this search." They will get the same number of purchases from me.

Another comment I happened upon

In this all-inclusive republic of ours, Christians get the short end of the stick when it comes to public policy, all because it’s assumed that since they are the majority, they can afford to be tolerant. Thus, unless their communities can come up with the money to fight an ACLU lawsuit, or unless they can get some lawyers to take the case for them pro bono-in which cases they still might lose, depending on the judge and the circumstances-they should just suck it up and quit being such crybabies.

I think part of the problem is that Christians aren't content with anything other than the whole stick...short end/long end, they want it all.  They want theirs to be the only game in town.  They seem to forget the principles the Bible clearly lays out for followers of Jesus. How about compassion to start with?

Perhaps the less than enthusiastic store clerk is not just anti-Christmas.  Perhaps she is just worn out from the frantic pace those who work in retail  maintain during the Christmas season. Perhaps she is one of the thousands and thousands of people who find themselves in varying stages of depression. Is shouting Merry Christmas in response to her lack luster greeting really what Christians are called to do? Will that encourage her to put Christ back in Christmas?

Christmas is over for this year....but it's never to early to prepare for  the battles of the next holiday...I mean, Christmas....season.

Onward Christian Soldiers....

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