Manassas, Virginia is a important landmark in our nation’s history. It was the scene of the first significant land battle of our nation’s one and only Civil War on July 21, 1861. It was also the place of a second battle in August of 1862. They are known as both the first and second Battle of Manassas, or the first and second Battle of Bull Run depending on whether your perspective is of a southern or northern persuasion.
Manassas is the scene of another battle today in what has become known as the war on Christmas. There is a nativity scene in the town’s Nelson Park, and an atheist group placed a banner next to it that reads, “At this Season of the Winter Solstice, LET REASON PREVAIL. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.”
The Freedom From Religion Foundation got a permit for the banner, but as you can imagine those who support the nativity scene are “upset by the banner and found it offensive.” This is because Christians believe Christmas softens hearts and frees our minds.
For a number of years now atheists groups from different parts of the country have chosen the Christmas holiday to advance their cause that this is the “season for reason.” Believers counter that Christ is the “Reason for the season,” and they have an older claim.
Given our nation’s emphasis on Christmas, this is the time of year when atheists can generate the most notoriety for their cause and get the biggest bang for their advertising buck.
Getting angry and offended at atheists for their disbelief makes about as much sense to me as atheists trying to throw a wet blanket on the infectious joy of this time of year. The secular-minded will never be able to understand the Virgin Birth through reason alone; the wonder of Christmas can only be seen by faith. How can we be offended when those who have no faith fail to see that, which can only be seen by faith?
Atheists remind me of Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch stole Christmas!” You may recall in this children’s classic the Grinch was a miserable, cave-dwelling hermit annoyed each year by the celebration of Christmas in Whoville. Wanting some company in his misery the Grinch decides to visit Whoville and steal all the presents and decorations on Christmas Eve thinking it will make Christmas morning a time of sorrow. He is surprised when despite the removal of every symbol of the season, all the Whos in Whoville awake with joyous singing. The Grinch realizes that “maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”
Atheists may try to steal Christmas, but I rejoice that on that first Christmas “in the city of David there has been born…a Savior, who is Christ the Lord,” Luke 2:11. “Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more!”