In case you didn’t know, Christmas is fast approaching. The stores have been announcing its arrival since July. If only I could hear more “Merry Christmas” and less “Happy Holidays,” with a stronger emphasis on giving than on receiving, I’d be a happy camper. Apparently, I’m not alone.
According to a new study by Lifeway Research, 79 percent of Americans believe “Christmas should be more about Jesus.” Only 18 percent disagree. When asked if “Christmas activities should include a visit to a church service,” 63 percent agree. Further, 70 percent of Americans say Christmas would be better with a Christian focus, with 86 percent supporting religious Christmas songs in public schools.
What’s interesting is the cultural shift this new survey is unveiling. According to the data, the number of people who think Christmas should be about Jesus is shrinking (down 14%), even though the number of people who think Christmas shouldn’t be about Jesus isn’t growing (only up 1%). The largest shift over the past four years is the number of people who are simply unsure (up 13%).
Many Americans seem uncertain about Christmas (and religion in general). According to a 2014 Religious Landscape study, an increasing number of Americans are religiously unaffiliated, even though they don’t necessarily reject the existence of God. There has been a dramatic increase in what has since been termed religious “nones” (Americans who “self-identify as atheists or agnostics”).
Blaise Pascal, the French philosopher, said we have a “God-shaped vacuum” in us. St. Augustine wrote that “our hearts are restless until they rest in Him.” Every person you and I know was created by a God who loves them. To me, Christ is the reason for this season, the greatest gift from a loving God. Lord, I pray that I show more of you and less of me in my life!
Isaiah 9:6-7 “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”