And this is His commandment, that we believe in the Name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as He has commanded us. 1 John 3:23
Scrooge isn't the only one who has said, "Bah! Humbug! Christmas!"
The American Humanist Association (AHA) has echoed that sentiment with letters sent to public schools that were participating in a program called "Operation Christmas Child." The program, run by Samaritan's Purse -- an evangelical relief organization founded by the son of Billy Graham -- delivers Christmas toys to poor children.
Since 1993 that organization has collected and given over 100 million boxes of toys to kids who live in poverty.
Apparently, the AHA thinks this is a bad thing.
But maybe I'm being unfair. The letter AHA sent to the state schools said their support of the toy drive was "unconstitutional," a violation of the separation of church and state, and against the government's mandate not to endorse a religion. Then, to make sure it had made its point, the AHA said it would sue those schools if they didn't drop out of the program.
Now I'm sure the kids weren't aware their schools were in violation of all those laws. In all probability the children thought they were helping Samaritan's Purse offer a kindness to children who have less than they do.
Well, thanks to the AHA that's not going to happen anymore.
The same day it received AHA's letter, South Carolina's East Point Academy said it would sever its relationship with Samaritan's Purse. The school decided to do this because it was motivated by "an abundance of caution because we do not want to expend school financial resources defending a lawsuit."
Now if I read all this correctly, the bottom line to AHA's action is this: 1) the letter of the law will be enforced and 2) some poor children will not have much, if anything, under their Christmas trees.
My sainted Grandmother had an expression to describe such a situation. She would have said, "The AHA has thrown the baby out with the bathwater." It may have been trying to do a good thing by sending out those letters and making its threats, but the result is a pretty sad thing.
It's possible that, in this instance, there may be another law, a higher law, a law which the AHA doesn't recognize. We Christians call it the law of love, and it covers a multitude of sins.
It is the kind of love which saw Jesus heal on the Sabbath, the kind of love which saw the innocent die for the guilty, the kind of love which saw God's Son be sacrificed so we might be saved.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, in the Person of Jesus, we have been given our Savior and salvation. Because of the salvation He has won, we who were poor have been made rich. May our actions and our giving this Christmas season show our thankful hearts. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries