What happened to lighted houses and wreaths on doors? Giant candy canes and inflatable Santa lawn displays? Are they just in the close this year? Is Santa just having a bad year?
I remember the economic recession of the early 1990's, I left America to work in Korea and I returned a few years later to a great boom in U.S. wealth. The Clinton administration takes credit, but after living overseas for years, it was so readily apparent upon my return that America was prospering, Yards were immaculate. Houses were freshly painted. Boats and RV's were parked beside two car garages. Just driving home from the airpot I recall feeling such optimism about America's economic future heading into the new millennium.
But this year is different, isn't it? You can feel it. It's different.
It's not just a poor pocketbook. It's a poorness of spirit. Call it, Christmas Bashing.... maybe people just don't like it anymore.
My friends and co-workers are divided. I have an equal amount of Christian and Atheist acquaintances, but it is an onslaught at work and in social settings. A persecution, almost At least a dozen times a week I will hear a secular friend grumble, "F-ing Christians!" in response and blame for everything from the Syrian Refuge Crisis to Donald Trump's latest antics. Which always surprises me because it's so terribly unbalanced. I hear it in coffee shops, at staff work meetings, in house parties, on jogs through the park, "F-ing Christians!" But I have never in my life heard a Christian person grumble, "Those F-ing Atheists!" Honestly, I just don't think I've ever heard it.
But people seem not to consider how much worse the world we would be without Christianity. The millions of people around the globe in service everyday. Real service. Without any notoriety or publicity. People just doing good out of the love of Christ in their heart. I've known hundreds and hundreds of these people throughout my life... who ask nothing in return. In fact, it almost balances out all the public atrocities and disgrace caused by the church... these private sacrifices.
But... there's something special in the ideas of Christmas: Forgiveness. Peace on earth. Goodwill. These ideas go beyond politics or culture or belief. Ideas that can melt hardened hearts.