I think it is worse this year.
More and more “Christian” groups are stridently demanding that Christmas be celebrated as the remembrance of the birth of Jesus Christ and are opposing what I refer to as “secular Christmas” celebrations. One group, “Repent Amarillo”, has gone so far as posting a video of the execution of Santa Claus.
I observe that as a group loses influence within a culture, they often become more strident and work hard at regaining lost influence. This is what I think is happening to religious conservatives.
I operate with the assumption that there are two Christmas celebrations. One is firmly rooted in the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. The other is a secular winter holiday with the same name. When someone wishes me “Happy Holidays”, they are in fact being considerate because they don’t know which one (or ones) I celebrate.
Here is the kicker. I celebrate both. I don’t find that to be a problem at all.
What religious conservatives and Christmas “purists” don’t seem to recognize is that they continue to drive a wedge between Christians and non-Christians with their strident rhetoric. When it gets to be an either/or situation, evangelism suffers. Far better to use Paul’s example in Corinth when faced with the monument to the “unknown god”. He shared with the people of Corinth what he knew about that unknown god … Jesus Christ rather than beating them over the head with their paganism.
The way Christians can claim Christmas is through that interpretive maneuver. After all, it is a short step from the secular Christmas celebrations to the Christian celebrations, and when approached reasonably, most who observe the secular holiday are open to Christian interpretation.