By Kelly Boggs, Editor
Political pundits, social commentators and even theologians continue to debate what the most recent election results actually indicate about America.
However, one reality that seems evident is that just over half of the registered voters in the United
States are in favor of a more secular culture.
The morning of Nov. 7, we learned that Americans had rejected traditional values, anchored in the principles espoused by the Bible, in favor of homosexual marriage, recreational drug use and candidates who seem enamored by socialist ideas.
Some seem shocked at the election results. However, America’s slow slide toward secularism has been taking place for some time now. I would argue that for at least three decades the Christmas season has been a clear indicator of our country’s penchant for secular style over traditional substance.
The essence of Christmas, the reason for the season as it were, is the birth of Jesus Christ, nothing more and nothing less. It is distinctly and exclusively a religious holiday; a time when Christians around the world commemorate the birth of their savior, the very reason for their faith.
However, in American popular culture the reality of Christmas has not just been lost; it has been discarded liked ripped wrapping paper. Christ’s birth is no longer the focus. All things secular trump the sacred as Americans celebrate Christmas in name only.
Take for instance music in popular culture. Some radio stations dedicate their entire programming to Christmas themed music during the month of December. And all stations sprinkle their programming with at least some Christmas music.
However, what is considered Christmas music by the popular culture has little to nothing to do with Christ and his birth. ASCAP, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, recently released the 25 most popular Christmas songs, based on radio play, for the last decade. Only one song on the list even came close to touching on the reality of Christmas.
The tenth most popular song in the poll was “Little Drummer Boy.” This was the most Christ-themed song in the top 25. Number one was “Winter Wonderland.”
The number two spot was taken by “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire).”
You may like “Little Drummer Boy,” but let’s be honest: Its mention of the reality of Christmas is, at best, subtle. The rest of the songs extol reality of winter or recount tales of fictional characters. All are dedicated to a secular celebration.
Television is a dominant force in American popular culture and has played its part in promoting a secular approach to Christmas. Through the years there have been a variety of specials during the Yule season. Most, like the aforementioned music, ignore the reality of Christ’s birth.
Among the favorites according to Christmas-Almanac.com are: “Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” “Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer,” Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” and “Frosty the Snowman.” Only one holiday classic dares broach the subject of Christ’s birth and that is, “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
Near the end of “Charlie Brown,” the blanket-toting character Linus responds to the main character’s plea to understand Christmas by reciting the story of Christ’s birth from Luke’s gospel. In less than a minute the reality of Christmas is conveyed with simple grace.
The list of popular Christmas movies is not really even worth mentioning.
Not one film mentioned in a list of top 25 movies complied by the popular movie Internet site IMDb.com touched on the reality of Christmas.
To be sure there are some good films on the list that covey some very positive messages, such as “It’s A Wonderful Life” and “A Christmas Carole.”
However, not a single film deemed popular by American culture has anything to do with the birth of Jesus Christ.
The commercialization of Christmas has certainly helped with the holiday’s secularization. Catering to the voracious buying habits of American consumers, retailers offer every Christmas decoration imaginable – and begin selling the gaudy stuff months in advance of the holiday.
A person can purchase blow-up snowmen, polar bears, penguins, Santa Clauses, etc. – ad nauseum. Trees alive and artificial in different sizes and colors are also available, as is a dizzying array of light strands. What any of the aforementioned has to with the birth of Jesus Christ, I have no idea. In recent years more and more public schools have followed the lead of popular culture and have avoided any mention of Jesus Christ. The word Christmas has been scrubbed from calendars and songs that mention it have been removed from school events.
Many public schools now celebrate the winter holidays.
Just as Christ has been slowly but surely ousted from the holiday that bears his name so America has been sliding into secularism. The Christmas celebrated by popular culture does not honor Christ; it ignores him. The same is true for the secularism many Americans recently affirmed at the ballot box.