If Ft. Worth Star-Telegram staff writer Mark Lowry had his way, Merry Mas would be our seasonal greeting.
“If you want to see the Rockettes, then go, but remember to leave after the Christmas Dreams number, before The Living Nativity begins. The show’s creators are wrong to assume that Jews, Muslims and other non-Christians don’t have the same right to holiday fluff that Christians do. To lure spectators of all faiths (and nonfaiths) with the promise of an entertaining holiday revue, and then to ambush them with Christian theology, is dated and borderline offensive.” (1)
It’s a Mas
Taking Christ out of Christmas leaves us a “mas”. And that’s exactly what Mark Lowry and his editor got… a mess load of letters-to-the editor, every one expressing outrage and opposition to Mark’s recommendation of cutting the Bethlehem manger scene from the Christmas show.
In defense of Mr. Lowry, he is not the first person to omit Christ from Christmas. Millions of people celebrate Christmas without acknowledging Christ. I confess that I’m guilty of using the abbreviation Xmas in years past without thinking how offensive this must have been to Jesus. And while most people say “Happy Holidays” to their co-workers as they leave December 24th, most do so without giving thought to the word’s origin… holy-days.
Inside Tips on Gift Giving
These examples of Christmas omission or ignorance gave me cause this year to examine my own life. I concluded the greatest gifts I could give this year are not external. They will be internal. I need to return what I’ve omitted and replace my ignorance with knowledge. Author of The Book of Christmas Wisdom, Criswell Freeman says, “Christmas should be a time of joy, a time of contemplation and renewal. But Christmas, like every other event in your life, is what you make it. So make this holiday season the best ever by working from the inside-out.” (2)
One of the inside-out gifts I will give this Christmas is simple but difficult for me. I don’t tell my wife, daughter or parents at the end of phone calls, “Remember, I love you.” I can come up with at least ten reasons why I haven’t (i.e. Dad didn’t do it, It’s not a macho thing to say, I don’t want other people at the airport to hear me say I Love You to the phone, etc.). All these reasons pale in comparison to the value this daily gift will bring to both the receiver and the giver.
A few Christmas’s ago, the dominant interest of six-year-olds in America was a group of teenage superheroes and their toy look-alikes called the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Their rallying cry in moments of crisis was “It’s morphing time!”, transforming them with the ability to do extraordinary things.
“The desire for transformation lies deep in every human heart.” (3) Morphing may be the best gift that you and I can give our family, our business and ourselves this Christmas. This holiday season is a perfect time to consider and correct omissions and ignorance in our personal or professional lives. The resulting changes could be priceless.
Merry ABC from ICMS
As we approach the beginning of our 15th year in business, the staff of ICMS wish you and yours an Activity-Based Christmas and a Value-added New Year.
(1) Fort Worth Star-Telegram, “Christmas Show is Entertaining Up Until Finale”, Mark Lowry, November 16, 2002
(2) The Book of Christmas Wisdom, Criswell Freeman, Walnut Grove Press, 1999
(3) The Life You’ve Always Wanted, John Ortberg, Zondervan Press, 2002