|Offending and being offended by Christmas|
by Bill Ellis
December 13, 2006
Category: Christian Living
|VERY DAY SOMEBODY, somewhere, is offended because of the Prince of Peace. We are reminded of it on daily newscasts, in newspapers, magazines, letters and e-mails.|
When the baby Jesus grew up to be a man He talked about peace, forgiveness, love, good cheer, life, abundance, blessings and all the things most of the world's population seems to desire. He also talked about sin and judgement. While He spoke a lot about heaven and eternal life, He talked even more about hell and everlasting punishment.
Human beings do not like the idea of accountability, responsibility and the possibility of harsh consequences for sin and disobedience. We prefer to dwell on the thoughts of having everything we think is good and desirable. That all started in the Garden of Eden when a man and a woman wanted what was forbidden. All their progeny, billions in number, have been like their first parents.
It is natural for people who naturally want to live in disobedience to be offended when they are confronted with truth. The appearance of authority triggers a negative and irritating response. We are often offended by symbols of truth and authority.
A lot of football teams will play in bowl games. Fans will read about their tremendous offensive power. Years ago, the innovative Marshall University basketball coach, Cam Henderson, became famous for believing the best defense was a better offense. His theory was simple: you win if you score more points on offense than your defense allows.
In trying to understand why certain people are offended by a baby, real or symbolic, in a cattle stall, I went to Webster's Dictionary and Roget's Super Thesaurus and studied the words offense, offensive and offended. It seems to be that ignorant, narrow-minded and sinful people cannot allow for others what they want for themselves. They seek to destroy what has been a blessing to the world for centuries.
In some countries, including the United States, there seems to be a move to eliminate the first six letters of Christmas. Do they want it called "Moneymas, Commercialmas, Heathenmas, Devilmas" or any celebration of anything except Christ?
Few people believe that Jesus Christ was actually born on December 25. It is simply the day chosen many years ago as an appropriate one on which to celebrate the birth of the Savior. More books have been written, more songs sung, more good deeds done in His name than any person who has ever lived on planet Earth. Some are apparently offended by the fact that He is the most powerful life changing influence in all history.
Perhaps Christians should launch such a powerful all-out offensive to make Jesus known that the opposition's defense will always be trying to catch up. That offense might include staying out of the places that sell anything the entire month of December and sending all we otherwise would spend on unnecessary gifts and gadgets to missions organizations, orphanages, charitable organizations that promote the message of Jesus, to magazines and newspapers, radio and television stations that proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ and to colleges and seminaries that train people to be pastors, teachers and missionaries.
That is being offended to the point of becoming offensive. If the offense is just one point better than the best defense it will always win.
When the child Jesus, born in Bethlehem nearly 2,000 years ago, became a man and after His death by crucifixion, His burial and resurrection, He told those who believed in Him, "Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone, everywhere" (Mark 16:15 NLT). That is being offensive in the strongest sense of the word. Tell everybody everywhere about the perfect Christ of every Christmas.
Bill Ellis is a syndicated columnist, and convention and conference speaker on every continent. He is the writer of more than 1600 columns and widely known as a motivator utilizing enjoyment of life and just plain fun and laughter while speaking to high school, university and professional sports teams as well as to business and professional groups of all kinds. His keen understanding of human problems make him a favorite speaker for youth, parent, and senior adult meetings. He is accompanied by Kitty, his wife, favorite singer, editor and publisher.
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