Thursday, November 10, 2005

Can Wal-Mart Really Ban Christmas?

A Roman Catholic group is wanting to boycott Wal-Mart because they believe that Wal-Mart is banning Christmas. This belief is based solely on a policy change from using the term "Merry Christmas" to "Happy Holidys". They cite other reasons like the addition of Hanukka and Kwanzaa items, but Wal-Mart has always had Hanukka and Kwanzaa items to some degree.

I just want to know what power Wal-Mart really has to influence Christmas. Unlike Target, they remain firm in their support of the Salvation Army. Does the use of "Merry Christmas" really contribute the people's faith? Who are we as Christians to say that a store owned by the private sector shouldn't try to make a buck providing items of some other religions?

The fact is, we've been complaining about Christmas becoming too secularized and commercial anyway. It may do well for us to back off the glitter a little and focus on presenting the truth about the incarnation of Christ. Some of the secular things about Christmas are fun, to be sure. Some elements like Christmas trees and Santa Claus are rooted in paganism and some in church history, but now they're just a source of entertaining lore and decor. While such elements can distract us from the real message, they can be redeemed by using them as tools to express the real meaning.

Santa Claus, Christmas trees, reindeer and sparkly lights mean nothing in and of themselves. This is what you find at Wal-Mart typically, along with a dozen decent Christmas cards and some manger scenes. The best thing for Christmas is to crack open that dusty Bible on your bookshelf. If you don't have one, Wal-Mart has a fair collection of those too.

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