I love Christmas, and I once boycotted my employer’s “Holiday” sweatshirts, because the company refused to provide any that said “Merry Christmas.” I like to wear a button that says, “Please wish me Merry Christmas.” I make a point of saying “Merry Christmas” to servers and cashiers who have obviously been instructed not to mention Christmas. I have my own agenda at Christmas, but I would never boycott a store or mall that refused to acknowledge Christmas.
Jesus is not about commerce, even though he expects that Christians will engage in it right along with everyone else. Actually, Jesus often spoke of various aspects of the business world, but always in the context of ethical practices and moral values. He never told his followers to refuse to do business with anyone who challenged his teachings. In fact, the content of the New Testament suggests to me that we do business with everyone in order that our Christian testimony may be manifest in our dealings for Christ’s glory, not for our own political agenda. Hence, I do not confuse commercial choices with worship options at church.
In fact, when I encounter a business that acts as if there were no such thing as Christmas, I want to go inside and brighten things up a bit. I like to tell clerks that I am shopping for Christmas gifts, because I teach my children about the gifts the wise men brought. Even if the clerks giggle, or if they frown, or if they look quizzical as if they do not know what I mean, I still like to make it clear that the birth of Jesus is the reason I celebrate at this time of year. I very well know that people of other religions and of no religion at all have their reasons for celebrating or for being a Grinch. Still, in this instance, I believe that I have just as much right to say, “I’m looking for the perfect sweater for my teen daughter for Christmas morning,” as I have to say, “I hope I can find the right scarf to accessorize my mother-in-law’s favorite dress for her birthday.” Nobody really cares about my mother-in-law’s birthday except our family, and some people would say that nobody cares about Jesus except Christians. Well, in a store that sells items that might be gifts, I think that I can mention Christmas and my reasons for celebrating it.
I do not think Jesus wants us to be annoying about his birthday. I do think Jesus wants everyone to know about him. There are all sorts of ways to say just about anything. I try to be creative and genuine in whatever I say. I do not plan all the words ahead of time, although I do think about them. I rely on Jesus’s promise to the disciples that whenever they were on trial for their faith, the Holy Spirit would give them the words. I rely on that promise during the Christmas season and during the rest of the year as well. The promise is for all times.
Therefore, the question is whether to boycott Starbucks for promoting homosexual behavior, or whether to boycott Target for refusing to specify gender in children’s clothing, or whether to boycott the anchor store at my local mall for refusing to use the word Christmas anywhere on its premises. Is a boycott the best way to let people know how you feel? What does your boycott say to these businesses?
My response to this sort of behavior by businesses is to say that the dark places of the world are the places where Christ’s light needs to shine. Take the name of Jesus into the dark corners of businesses everywhere. Take his love. Take his grace and forgiveness. Speak the name of Jesus in the midst of Satan’s strongholds and watch the fire spread.
Do not let Satan take control inside the businesses of the world and claim them as bombproof bunkers where God cannot penetrate. Open the doors and bring in the light. Be a flaming tongue and pierce the gates of hell or the doorways of business operations where Christ has been ejected. At the very least, wish everyone “Merry Christmas.” Who knows what else you may have the opportunity to say?