During the Christmas season, we always seem to hear about another nativity controversy. While the locality may change, the overall scenario is the same—some secular group is offended and demands that a nativity scene be removed from the public square, advanced by the fallacy of “separation of church and state.” In 2018 alone, the news has reported on controversies surrounding nativity scenes in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and even The White House, just to name a few.
This misunderstanding of “separation of church and state” is perpetuated by secular humanists, atheists, and other groups and individuals who oppose Christian truth. But the reality is that our nation was built upon the recognition that our rights come from God (our Creator), and that our government’s only legitimate purpose is to protect those God-given rights. We cannot separate Him from government, nor did our founders intend for us to do that.
Unfortunately, secularism is no longer content with the removal of Jesus and Christian truth from courthouse steps or our own front lawns. We now live in a day when we can no longer greet people with “Merry Christmas” without fear of offending someone.
The heart of this debate isn’t just our right to celebrate the birth of Christ, or to greet someone with “Merry Christmas” during the holiday season. It goes much deeper than that. It’s an attack against our liberty to talk about the Lord in the public forum. Our founders understood that to share our faith and discuss these important truths, we must have the ability to speak freely, to assemble and meet together, and to talk about God as an exercise of religion. This freedom isn’t limited to church, but rather anywhere that we want to engage our culture and our society.
These three essential liberties are our “first freedoms,” enumerated in our First Amendment. Without that, we would still have our first freedoms, but our founders made certain to specifically protect our ability to talk about God together.
Often, we think about these freedoms as essential only to ourselves as individual rights. They are indeed our individual, God-given rights, but as Christians, we should be seeking to exercise them for the purpose that God intended—to be the light of the world and to proclaim His truth!
Christmas offers a wonderful time to “go tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born,” and, like the heavenly host who appeared to the shepherds on that glorious night, proclaim the joyous good news of the birth of our Savior. Let’s not lose this opportunity to share our faith with others, especially during the Christmas season.
Matthew 28:18-20 says, “And Jesus came and spoke to the disciples, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and even so, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.”
This is our great commission, made possible in our nation through protection of our first freedoms. This Christmas, how are you exercising your ability to speak together about the Lord with your friends and family? How are you joyously proclaiming His truth?
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