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Published December 24 2013

Forum editorial: Christmas overcomes the secular

Christmas has always been a holiday of seeming contradictions: rampant commercialism and glitz vs. the spiritual meaning of the birth of the Christ child. But no matter how overwhelming the so-called “cultural” holiday season seems, there is no minimizing the depth of the message brought to the world some 2,000 years ago in Bethlehem.

There can be no other way for Christians – that is, Christians with a capital “C.” Those who consider themselves Christians but have lost or never had faith in the divinity of Christ have no legitimate claim on the real meaning, the real reason for Christmas. That might read harsh or intolerant to some sensibilities, but truth as defined by faith cannot be denied.

In that context, it matters little that the holiday season has become such a pervasive sales pitch. People of faith understand the profound difference between Santa Claus and the birth of the Savior. Christians who embrace the universal message of “peace on earth” have no problem resisting the powerful call of bright stores, parties and the secularization of the season. Indeed, placing the Jolly Old Elf in perspective can comport with, but not supplant, the far deeper message of the manger.

Christmas surely has attained a cultural, somewhat nonreligious status on the American holiday calendar. After all, it is a legal holiday in the secular sense. But at its heart and from its beginning, it is a Christian celebration. The message for the world – yet to be realized – animates the Christian faithful. The gift of God who was made man to walk among us remains mysterious and joyful, wondrous and hopeful. It is the gift of Christmas.

From The Forum family to yours: Merry Christmas.

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Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper’s Editorial Board.