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by Pastor Paul Andell (WordAlone board member, Philadelphia, PA)

News: December 22, 2005

At no time is the ethos of American culture more apparent to me than at Christmas. Stuck in rush hour traffic yesterday, I reflected on a home visit I had just made. photo of Pr. AndellThe woman shared with me the holiday card she had received from the White House. The holiday terminology had surprised her. It was the language used by the D.J. that I listened to as I poked along. The holidays were referred to repeatedly, but not once in that 45-minute ride did I hear the word "Christmas." Of course, "holiday" fit the fluff of "Silver Bells" and "Frosty the Snowman" being played.

Recently, a woman extended her hand to me and said, "Happy holidays." I smiled and wished her a, "Merry Christmas." Then she explained, "At work we have to say, 'Happy holidays,' so as not to offend our Jewish customers."

That's it, isn't it? We don't want to offend anybody and we don't know who the believers are anymore.

That is what we say. We want to be nice in a pluralistic world. Besides, who is to say, what is true? But that same world, as John 1 tells us, is dark. It needs light and the Light has come. That many Jews and Gentiles have not received Him, was not then and should not be now an excuse or a reason not to share the Word made flesh, who enters our dark, politically correct, shallow culture this Christmas.

On Dec. 7, 32 years ago, my father died. His death was a Pearl Harbor event for me, difficult to fathom just before Christmas. Still, his life as a Christian inspired me. Called off his family farm in Minnesota, he met God in Jesus Christ and entered the Lutheran ministry. He ministered for 30 years primarily in the secular environment of south Florida. There he introduced the transforming love and power of Jesus Christ to thousands of people, many of whom had preferred darkness.

I think Christmas will always be in conflict with the way people choose to live. But God still comes and will this Christmas to hallow the existence of those of us who will receive Him.

A blessed, holy and yes, Merry Christmas!