A friend from church sent me an email about her friend who is a talented artist. For several years she, among many others, has painted ornaments to be hung on the various White House Christmas trees. The White House sends out an invitation to send an ornament and informs the artists of the theme for the year. She got her letter from the White House recently. It said that the trees would not be called Christmas trees this year. The will be called Holiday trees. Artists were asked not to send any ornaments painted with a religious theme. She was very upset at this development and sent back a reply telling them that she painted the ornaments for Christmas trees and would not be sending any for a display that left Christ out of Christmas.

This message inspired me to declare that I am not ashamed to acknowledge that I am a Christian. Our country was founded on religious freedom. The first amendment in the Bill of Rights is the right to worship as our conscience dictates. I am happy to allow others to express their convictions and display their sacred symbols and images. I humbly request that this courtesy and right be honored no matter what cultural background we come from.

Holidays are times for family, friends and worship – whatever religion we practice. This month we express our gratitude to the Almighty for our bounteous gifts – a tradition that was started with the pilgrims. Next month I will celebrate Dutch St. Nicholas Eve on December 6th, and Christmas on December 25th. This is a season where we are usually more charitable, more giving than other times. Let’s open our hearts to the diverseness that makes our country great and extend our tolerance to those of other faiths and spiritual backgrounds. But please don’t make me bury my joy of the sacred nativity.

Those who want to be “PC” need to remember that half of the world is not having winter – it is their summer. So how accurate is it to rename the season as  a “Winter Festivity.” Several States in our Union don’t even get snow. Does that make it necessary to ban the public display of nostalgic scenes. I hope not. My wish is to not censor the celebration of traditional Christmas but to allow it to continue with Jesus’ birth and Santa side by side.  Allow others the freedom to include any other seasonally appropriate religious or cultural holiday expressions as they desire.
I received a letter that referred to a Ben Stein interview on CBS sunday morning. I couldn’t find the link for that one, but I did find a link to another one of his interviews on the subject of Christmas. Here is the article I was sent via e-mail:

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.

My confession:

I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees, Christmas trees. I don’t feel threatened. I don’t feel discriminated against. That’s what they are, Christmas trees.

It doesn’t bother me a bit when people say, ‘Merry Christmas’ to me. I don’t think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto.. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn’t bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu . If people want a creche, it’s just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don’t like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don’t think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can’t find it in the Constitution and I don’t like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren’t allowed to worship God as we understand Him? I guess that’s a sign that I’m getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it’s not funny, it’s intended to get you thinking.

Billy Graham’s daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her ‘How could God let something like this happen?’ (regarding Hurricane Katrina). Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, ‘I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we’ve been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?’

In light of recent events….Terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O’Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn’t want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself.. And we said OK.

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn’t spank our children when they misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock’s son committed suicide.) We said an expert should know what he’s talking about. And we said okay.

Now we’re asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don’t know right from wrong, and why it doesn’t bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with ‘WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.’

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world’s going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send ‘jokes’ through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.