Over at Marshall Art's blog, an interesting comment thread is lengthening, as I write, originating with a post by Marshall regarding Christmas in Bhagdad.
I started to add a couple of observations to the thread, but, as I am wont to do, my comment became so wordy, I decided to post my comment over here. Not to steal Marshall's thunder, mind you. It's just that the comment became so lengthy, I feared the word limit would be reached before I finished my thought. Here is my comment in it's rather verbose entirety:
I wouldn't say I (as a Christian) am "hacked" (Marshall's word) that some businesses have been intimidated into disallowing their employees from saying "Merry Christmas".
I'd say I'm more saddened by that than angry.
The problem so many Christians have with it is they see it as a direct assault on Christianity by non-Christians on one of the two most holy days of the year, namely the advent of Jesus Christ, the founder of Christianity.
As an aside here, non-Christians and Christians alike celebrate a decidedly non-Christian holiday and neither seem to have a problem wishing each other a "Happy Halloween". In fact, that so-called "holiday" has increased in popularity the last couple of decades to the point where it is celebrated with almost as much fervor as Christmas.
But, on the subject of secularizing Christmas, I have two points:
First, it might be appropriate to point out (as I have already on other blogs) the very word "holiday" consists of a contraction of the two words, "Holy Day". Thus, when one is wishing you a "Happy Holiday", they are, in effect, wishing you a "Merry Christmas".
So. I guess one could say, "The jokes on them".
Second, I find it interesting that other holidays aren't treated as if they are offensive to anyone. Even Easter, which is even more holy than Christmas (in my opinion) isn't regarded as particularly offensive to non-Christians. Nobody wishes you "Happy Holiday" on Easter. Neither do they wish you "Happy Holiday" on St Valentines Day, St Patrick's day (two other holidays, which, like Easter, have their origins in Christianity), Memorial Day, Independence day, Labor day, Halloween, or Thanksgiving. This omission of the phrase "Happy Holiday" during these other holidays would appear to bolster the point that there is indeed an assault on Christians through an assault on Christmas.
Should Christians start promoting St Patrick's day and St Valentine's day as specific Christian holidays, I have no doubt the non-Christians would bring up similar objections to the specific greetings.
In addition to comments centering around the secularizing of Christmas, the thread also addresses America's support (or lack of support) of Israel during the latest flare-up of hostilities between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.
(If you don't get the connection, go to Marshall Art's blog and follow the argument).
Israel has been accused (by some commenters in the aforementioned thread) of being the aggressor, and of initiating the hostilities between the Palestinians and Israel. They have also suggested America should not be allies with Israel.
It is my contention that the Israelis are retaliating for years, if not decades, of hostile unprovoked attacks on them. They are simply defending themselves and their homeland.
Although, whether that statement is true or not is a moot point. Regardless of Israel's culpability, even if Israel is completely in the wrong to attack Gaza. It would not be a precedent in Israel's long history.
As a (some would say "fundamental") Christian, I believe any country that turns it's back on Israel loses God's blessing.
Even the United States.
God has made it clear that the Israeli's are His chosen people, and has promised to bless them and protect them forever.
Any country that does not support Israel becomes the enemy of God.
The fact that Israel is not a "Christian" Country has no bearing on the fact that the Israeli's are still God's Chosen people.
Currently, Israel is no more a Jewish country than it is a Christian country.
Israel is about 90% atheist now.
But this also doesn't change the fact that the Israeli's are still God's Chosen people.
If one reads through the history of the Hebrews found in the Old Testament, one will see the Hebrews were continually rebelling against God, and, as a result of that rebellion, enemies of the Hebrew children would sweep into Israel and conquer them, often decimating much of their population, and carrying captives off into slavery. Over and over again, the Hebrews (now known as Israelis) rebelled against God, were punished by God for their rebellion and, after repenting, were welcomed back into God's favor.
It was, and is, a cyclic behavior.
The following is an important observation:
Never were the Hebrew Children completely wiped off the face of the earth, as their enemies usually were, eventually.
Not that the elimination of the Jews hasn't been attempted many times throughout history. As recently as the last century, Hitler tried to annihilate them.
Like Hitler, all the other tribes and empires that have attempted to destroy God's people have failed. At the same time, most, if not all of Israel's enemies, have been relegated to the waste bin of History. Most are now non-existent save in the dust covered chronicles of history.
Radical Muslims are in the process of trying to destroy them now.
Mankind never learns, it seems.
God will protect His people regardless of whether they follow Him or stray. They will continue to abandon Him, and they will continue to repent, and He will continue to welcome them back into His grace. That is His promise to them.
He has not made that promise to America.
Any country, including The mighty United States of America, that fails to understand this concept will eventually lose God's blessing. And will be destroyed.
If America abandons Israel to embrace Israel's enemies, it will ultimately bring about the end of The United States, and the beginning of the end for the rest of the world.
That is not opinion. It is God's promise.