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I am a self proclaimed coffee addict and Executive Director of a non profit missions agency working primarily in the Mexican cities of Oaxaca, Guadalajara, and Ensenada. I've been married for over 30 years to Chelle, and we have one grown son, Joseph, a graduate of Auburn University in Alabama.

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Friday, December 09, 2005

Is it Christmas Time?

Many of you are no doubt aware of the growing controversy concerning Sunday church services this Christmas Season.  According to the New York Times, many of the larger “mega” churches in America are not having worship on Christmas Sunday so that people can be with their family.  I even heard of one church that will be having a comedy night on Christmas.  Now comes an article I found in a little local paper I occasionally read here in the Los Angeles area.  It deals with one church’s response to a trend among some of the more contemporary churches to not sing Christmas carols in their services.  I was intrigued by it so I thought I’d share it with you.  With all of this being in the news so much this year, I think you’d agree it is timely.  Feel free to pass it along.


Local Pastor Calls for Boycott
Bill Swift, North Valley Free Press

Pastor John Nearing is fed up and doesn’t want to take it anymore.  Nearing is pastor of a small conservative church in the San Fernando Valley and he is wondering why many seemingly conservative churches are getting rid of Christmas music in their morning services.  Nearing believes the dearth of Christmas music at churches can be traced to the same over the top political correctness he sees in many businesses these days.

Call many large retailers and you will likely hear a greeting on the other end wishing you Happy Holidays, not Merry Christmas.  Purchase a Christmas tree and many stores will now call it a holiday tree.  Even the city of Boston and the US Capital got in to the issue.  Nearing believes that the tendency to substitute the word holiday for Christmas is catering to a small minority of people at the expense of the masses, many of whom are Christian.  For that reason he has supported Donald Wildmon’s AFA call to boycott businesses like Target, Lowe’s and Wal-Mart over their Christmas policies.

Nearing believes it is now time to boycott some churches.  “Where are the Christmas carols?” he asks.  Pastor Nearing and his congregation, Baker Avenue Community Church sing three or four Christmas carols each Sunday during December, but he is concerned about “seeker sensitive” and “emergent churches” eliminating such popular songs as “Silent Night” and “All Come All Ye Faithful.”  His church sees it as just another step towards watering down the true Gospel message of Jesus Christ.  Jon Mercer, a deacon and leader in the church wants to know where it will all end. “First you can’t say Merry Christmas, then we lose Christmas trees and now many churches will not sing the songs about Jesus birth we all grew up with.  If we don’t step up now, pretty soon we will only be able to have a Book and not the Holy Bible!  All of our Christian traditions are being taken from us.”

Pastor Nearing and his leaders are starting to recruit concerned churches for their boycott.  They are distributing flyers in and around their community advising people not to attend churches where Christmas carols are not being sung.  To date their Save Christmas Coalition has signed up twenty-three like-minded congregations in the North San Fernando Valley.  They are hoping and praying that their boycott will have the same impact that Wildmon’s boycott is having.  A return to the traditional Christian and Christmas values, which they believe this country was founded on.

© 2005 All Rights Reserved, Bill Swift, North Valley Free Press, Los Angeles, CA   Used by permission.

© 2005 David Miller

Comments on "Is it Christmas Time?"


Blogger Tom said ... (2:33 PM) : 

The backlash regarding Christmas music may be fueled by musicians who find all of those sharps difficult. I know that's all I have heard the last few years from pianists!


Blogger James Manning said ... (5:37 PM) : 

Dave, I wonder if this is a manufactured crisis by a minority sect of political Christians. I'm not sure what is happening with churches but I have heard some state that they would not have a Christmas service so that families can spend time together. I'm not so sure if there is anything wrong with that. Are we not strong enough in our faith that we can sit at hope and celebrate the birth of Christ? Is our salvations wrapped in this one service on this one day?

As for the business aspect of this - this is the capitolism that we have to live with. Businesses are in the business of making money from as many people as possible. So rather that taking the chance of offending, they take the all inclusive route. I see nothing wrong with that either.

I think more time should be spent on saving souls rather than dictating business trends. I for one have always gone to an evening service when Christmas fell on a Sunday. I'm not sure how closely I'll follow this topic but it is an interesting one.


Anonymous Gordon said ... (7:12 PM) : 

I wonder why some people in ministry feel the need to run down the way other people do ministry? I love Christmas music. From Handel's "Messiah" to "Santa's Smoking Reefer."
From "Angels We have Heard on High" to "Run, Run, Rudolph." But if some brother busting his butt on the front lines thinks he can bring more souls into the kingdom bY not singing Chrietmas Carols how can I put him down.(I might direct him to Reliant K's version of "Hark, the Herald Angel" but thats different.)


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