It was reported with great excitement this month that Christmas under the Trump administration has returned to the White House. The implication was that under Mr. Obama’s administration all the important “symbols” for Christ’s birth were taken away and replaced with a generic “Happy Holidays” — “one size fits all” approach to this time of year.
The facts however, don’t support this accusation of Mr. Trump’s predecessor. President Obama presiding over the lighting of the Christmas tree in 2016 wished all a “Merry Christmas”. He said it was a time of “marking my family’s Christian faith” and celebrating “the birth of our Savior.”
Even if Mr. Obama or some other president had “stole Christmas” as Mr. Trump suggests, it’s worth stepping back to get a new perspective. Christmas is the celebration of Christ’s coming to earth. Everything that Jesus stood for could be summed up by the word LOVE. He wasn’t talking about friendship or sexual love sung about in pop music. It was “agape love” – the kind of love that put others first. Jesus extended it to all and that meant putting himself into another’s shoes.
Our President represents a whole nation – people from every walk of life and persuasion. Our American family has Christians, Jews, Muslims, atheists and many others who do not celebrate as Christians do. In our homes and personal lives we are free in America to express our beliefs and celebrate as we choose. But when it comes to the president the situation changes a little. Our President must be a “father” to ALL Americans and real love for the people will include all.
If we could travel ahead in time, we may at some point have a Muslim or a Jewish president. How would you feel if the White House were decorated with Jewish or Islamic symbols to celebrate the season? If that wasn’t your religion you’d feel incensed — not part of the family. You’d feel that the president didn’t represent you or the many others who weren’t in his religious fold.
We never need to hide the fact that if we are Christians we celebrate Christ’s birth at Christmas. But, in our public establishments there is wisdom in decorating and celebrating so that everyone can be a part of it. It’s not the words “Merry Christmas” that will make a difference to someone, but real agape love that looks out for and includes others.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness…..” (The Declaration of Independence)
There is probably nothing more patriotic for us Americans than this first Declaration which started our journey as a people and as a country.
Why All the Lies?
Lisa Firestone, a clinical psychologist, once wrote this:
“There’s a scene in the movie, ‘Something’s Gotta Give,’ that simply and succinctly captures one reality about the truth. After catching the man she loves on a date with another woman, Diane Keaton is chased out of the restaurant by a guilty and distraught Jack Nicholson. When he finally stops her, he pleads, ‘I have never lied to you, I have always told you some version of the truth.’ She replies, ‘The truth doesn’t have versions, okay?’ And that’s the truth. The truth may have many sides to it. It may be complicated or hard to understand, but it exists… in one version. Yet, most of us have trouble with the truth. We may not be outright liars, but we certainly shade the truth to make it fit more comfortably into our lives—to keep it from disrupting anything from our careers to our relationships to our afternoons.”
“This world may not be perfect, nor the truth always easy to take, but you can find peace and freedom in the security of knowing that the world you’ve created around you is as real as it gets.”
So why all the lies? Maybe one way to answer that question is to try to define what the meaning of truth is. The Greek word for “truth” is “aletheia” which means to “un-hide” or “hide nothing” or in today’s language “tell it like it is.” The Hebrew word for “truth” is “emeth”, which means “firmness”, “constancy” and “duration.” This would seem to imply something that can be relied upon or something which corresponds to reality.
We probably have all heard the well-known phrase, “The truth will set you free,” but one person added to that “but you have to endure the labor pains of birthing it.” Yet isn’t life worth striving for truth and liberty? Isn’t it time to stop the lies, stop some “version of truth” and face and live in the reality that truth sets one free? Life is short – let’s go for it!