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Country Roads: What would Jesus do?

Arvid Huisman huismaniowa@msn.com
Arvid Huisman huismaniowa@msn.com

When our children were still at home we tried to make our evening meal a family affair. As often as possible, we had supper together and enjoyed a pleasant (most of the time) discussion around the table.

One evening the subject turned to the rubberized WWJD bracelets that were the rage at the time. WWJD: What would Jesus do? At one point our son said, “I know what Jesus wouldn’t do. He wouldn’t pay $4.98 for a stupid rubber bracelet.”

We all laughed and I silently marveled at how closely the apple had fallen to the tree. Frugal and direct; that’s my boy!

The WWJD question came to time mind recently when I read that the American Family Association (AFA) has called for a one-month boycott of Radio Shack over that company’s “censorship” of the word “Christmas.”

The AFA claims that Radio Shack has refused to use the word Christmas on its website, in its advertising and in-store promotions.

At the same time I have seen snarky posts on Facebook condemning the use of “Happy Holidays” in lieu of “Merry Christmas.”

What would Jesus say about Radio Shack’s refusal to use the word “Christmas” in its holiday promotion? Would Jesus call for a boycott because the chain wouldn’t use his name in its advertising?

Another question: would Jesus be offended if someone wished him “Happy Holidays” rather than Merry Christmas? Is it possible that Jesus would say to the AFA, “Why in the world do you want a national retail chain using my name to promote sales?” Is it possible that Jesus would respond to a “Happy Holidays” greeting with a smile and a simple, “Thank you!”

Some Americans who call themselves Christians have a problem: they get their undies twisted in knots over less than important matters. Jesus had a lot to say about feeding the hungry and caring for widows and orphans. He told us to love our neighbor. Instead of following Jesus’ instructions, some folks brandish their religion by taking offense and thumping their chests when someone doesn’t “honor” their holiday.

If I meet you on the street this month, I will wish you a “Merry Christmas.” I hope you will accept that as a sincere gesture of good will.

If you meet me on the street this month and you wish me “Happy Holidays,” I will return your greeting with a smile and say, “Thanks.” I will accept your wishes as a gesture of good will.

The most memorable Christmas gift I ever received was given to me by Sam Sadoff, a Jewish business friend in Sioux City. Over the years Sam and I had wonderful discussions over coffee about his Jewish faith and my Christian faith. A few days before Christmas years ago my family visited his store to purchase a gift and, after a long, friendly conversation with Sam, we were the last customers in the store at closing time.

We paid for our purchase and as we were about to leave, Sam said, “Wait, I have something for you.”

He went to a back room and came back with a bottle of kosher Concord wine imported from Israel. “We may be of different faiths,” Sam explained as he handed me the bottle, “but this is a special time of year for both of us and I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas.”

I don’t have a taste for Concord wine but I loved the gift because of the spirit in which it was given. My Jewish friend gave his Christian friend a gift as a gesture of good will. What was it the angels proclaimed? “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

In His infinite wisdom, God has not revealed to me what Jesus would do in any of these situations, but based on what the Bible reveals about him I strongly believe he would accept a gesture of good will in a spirit of good will. He certainly would not return a sincere greeting with a snotty response.

And I seriously doubt Jesus would promote the use of his name to sell electronic toys.

Merry Christmas. Happy holidays.

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