The controversial and perhaps blasphemous exclamation made by actor, Jamie Foxx, has hardly dropped off the news cycle and along comes the ‘American Atheists’ spooks with a glaring Times Square billboard advertisement with a picture of Santa on the top and a picture of Christ being crucified on the bottom. The caption reads, “Keep the merry – Drop the myth.”
Perhaps the atheists are afraid that godless educators may have missed some students in their initial college years. Those who got out from under the peer pressure of the secularized generations manta that assures by sheer preponderance, repetition and a refusal to compare their arguments against the findings of creation science and strictly secular philosophical viewpoints, that it is perfectly OK to be – “myth-taken, myth-tified and myth-erable,” as the late Evangelist Vance Havner often proclaimed.
The atheists, who spend their time largely fighting against an enemy, they insist is not there, don’t seem to be able to curb the will of the merchants who rake in up to one third of their yearly receipts during the Christmas season. Don’t worry, the merry will go on if they have anything to say about it, and the day the Christians give up the Christmas observance, the merchants will be the first to try to - ‘save Christmas.’
This writer is not naïve; I am fully aware that Christmas is a religious holiday created by the Catholic Church and is not a scriptural mandate. We are never instructed to celebrate any birthday. It is also known today, that if anything, Christ was probably born sometime in early April, not December 25.
What disturbs the atheists has nothing to do with the day or the veracity of the appointed holiday, it is the attention that is directed to what is, and will always be, the most significant birth and subsequent history changing event in our world. The significance of that event was first proclaimed by the angelic creatures who announced Christ’s birth to the locals.
“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. (Luke 2: 10 – 14)
Anyone who celebrates the birth of Christ is never in need of a boost from a truly mythological person called Santa, merchandising barrages, office parties or tinsel draped conifers. The words, good tidings, great joy, peace on earth and good will toward men are the phrases that we feel in our hearts because of his birth and we can never accept the fleshly substitute of making ‘merry’ and the practice of overspending, overindulgence, drunkenness and general partying on an unspecified holiday as a reasonable substitute. Our joy is 24/7, 365 days a year and follows us into eternity. The atheists have missed the point by a million miles.
If Christmas or Christianity was meant to produce only good feelings then we may as well dump both. Feelings may be part of the Christian experience along with celebrations that warm the heart, but it would be the saddest of all religions if it were based only on emotional responses. At the start and at the heart, real Christianity is based on a historical figure and on an actual historical event.
The thousands of surviving manuscripts are ample proof for most honest people. Then we see the Apostle Paul who after being summoned before King Agrippa to explain the gospel and the resurrection exclaimed that since the entire world was aware of the birth, life and ministry of Christ he risked Agrippa’s wrath when he reminded him that “this thing was not done in a corner.” (Ac 26: 26b)
The historicity and reliability of the New Testament records has been shown to the world in perfect clarity by dozens of this world’s brightest minds. In fact, if the New Testament is un-reliable then more than 15 of the most trusted histories will also have to be thrown out because they have less proof than the NT records. The historical record is not merely a cogitation to be thrown out or overshadowed by the fossil record, atheists, agnostics or those who can’t be bothered with actually examining the historical evidence.
New Testament Christianity and the Christmas story are not based on a preponderance of pure unmitigated belief; it is based on the historical record. Our faith in that record and the interaction of God’s Holy Spirit with us (Which he promised) is an objective matter and does not rest on feelings, anecdotal experiences, or fellowship with others of like mind.
The atheists might want to save the unimaginable cost of buying billboard advertising on Times Square and use the money to send a contingent of their followers to Mecca or some other Muslim center of worship with the same message about myths. It is likely they would not come back alive, if at all, but we would have a little less bah-humbug for one Christmas season. Who coined the phrase, less is more? More so, just how seriously do they take their message, if it’s good for the goose is it good for the 1.5 billion Muslims who haven’t heard it as yet?
Almost as hard to bear as the atheist’s Times Square Scroogy intrusion is the endless meaning of Christmas offerings of TV and Hollywood. Let’s go to the bottom line here. Nothing about the birth of Christ is about making merry, endless gifts or parties. It has always been about the love of God to man. He sent his Lamb to die for the sins of the world; God was incarnate in Christ and reconciling the world to himself. (2 Co 5: 19)
It was the love of God that made him endure a lowly birth, the hardness of men’s hearts and the final scourge of his death on the cross. Christmas is the announcement of the open revelation of that love. Having said that, there can be only one thing left to say;
This article was first published in American Thinker
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