"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven."Christmas is only a few days away. For Catholics, the Christmas season of celebration begins on December 25th. The season leading up to Christmas is Advent.
– Matthew 5:14-16
Christmas is the day that Christians around the world celebrate the birth of Christ. It is a celebration rich in tradition. In the United States it is an official national holiday. It is also officially recognized as a holiday by each of the fifty states. And yet you wouldn't know that from the way that Christmas is treated by the popular media.
In a 2007 survey, 78.4% of Americans identified themselves as Christians. In comparison 1.7% identified themselves as Jewish; 0.7% as Buddhist; 0.6% as Muslim; 1.6% as atheists. About 13% claimed no religious affiliation or refused to answer.
It's true that we live in a multi-cultural society. But American society is not nearly as religiously diverse as one would be led to believe by the more militant secularists. Christians are still a resounding majority of the population. Why shouldn't we be allowed to publicly express our religious beliefs? To do otherwise is to deny reality.
How can a public display of the nativity scene possibly harm others? Why shouldn't Christian citizens be allowed to use public funds to erect such a display?
The intent of the writers of the Constitution is quite clear, which is that there should be no official state religion. This is very different from the barring of any government funds from any religious related purposes, which is the re-interpretation being pushed by the secularists. Religion is a fundamental part of human life. It cannot be completely separated from government without invoking a total ban on religion. And of course, this is the ultimate goal of the militant secularists.
Christ calls us to be "the light of the world". We cannot do this by hiding our faith; rather by sharing it with others.
[Coincidentally, I have begun reading the latest book by Pope Benedict XVI which is titled "Light of the World". We can see how the campaign by the secular media to create a controversy over this book is another attempt to extinguish the light of Christianity.]
Here is an official explanation of the Christmas Day holiday on a US State Dept. website titled "America.gov".
Most Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus of Nazareth on December 25. Before the 19th century, many Americans worked on Christmas, but in the industrial era the holiday also began to honor universal values such as home, children and family life, and to incorporate secular customs like exchanging gifts and cards, and the decoration of evergreen trees. Congress proclaimed Christmas a federal holiday in 1870. In 1999, a federal court acknowledged the secular aspects of Christmas in rejecting a claim that the holiday impermissibly endorsed and furthered a particular religious belief.First notice that Jesus is identified as "Jesus of Nazareth". While this is biblically correct, this term is used here as a thinly disguised attempt to refuse to recognize the divine nature of Christ and to identify Jesus as a mere historical figure.
To some extent, non-Christian holidays celebrated at roughly the same time of year — most prominently the African-American Kwanzaa and the Jewish Hanukkah — blend into a broader “holiday season.”
Then there is a sort of secular fairy tale about how Americans used to work on Christmas before it was officially declared a holiday by the federal government in 1870. More likely, it was already a state holiday in all the states and the rising centralization of government following the Civil War caused it to be adopted as a federal holiday as well.
There is an overemphasis in the description of Christmas as a secular holiday. Notice that there is no real explanation of the religious significance of Christmas. Finally, there is the attempt to redefine Christmas as the "holiday season" as in "Happy Holidays!"
Aren't there any Christians working at the State Department that can fix this deliberate misinterpretation of Christmas? Even the highly secular Wikipedia manages to come up with this description: "Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus to the Virgin Mary as a fulfillment of the Old Testament's Messianic prophecy."