And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Him, "Teacher, rebuke Your disciples." Luke 19:39
Historically speaking, that text from Luke is one of the first times people who were hostile to the Savior told Him, "We want Your disciples to shut up."
You could paraphrase Jesus' answer to read something like, "I don't think so."
That's a good answer. In the war of words which is continuously being directed against Christianity, that probably ought to be our answer too. "I don't think so" is polite, succinct and very much to the point.
Consider although the church has not yet begun the season of Advent, the world is already geared up for the Christmas sales season. There are corporation boardrooms and legal organizations that have spent considerable time trying to figure out how to make money at Christmastime, without mentioning the Savior and the salvation He has won. Almost as importantly, they want us to be silent concerning the Savior, and there's little reason to think we won't.
And why would they think Christians are going to be quiet? Well, maybe because we usually are. After all, none of us object to the fact they put on dozens of children's Christmas specials that never mention the Savior. Those specials don't talk about why Jesus was born, lived, died and rose. The world has said, "Shut up!" to the people who plan these programs, and to the people who sponsor these programs, and to the people who watch those programs. And those people have, without complaint, done just that. They shut up about the Savior.
Now I love the movie, A Christmas Story, and I'm always glad when Ralphie gets his Red Ryder BB gun, but that's not what Christmas is all about. I'm happy when Kris Kringle gets all that mail from the U.S. Post Office and is declared to be Santa, but Santa is not Christmas. The Grinch can steal the tinsel and trappings of Whoville's Christmas, but he can't stop Christmas from coming.
That's because, this year, like every year, Christmas is the story of the Son of God who has come to save us. And this Christmas, like every Christmas, the world will say, "Jesus, tell Your people to be silent."
Well, I don't think so.
The world might like all religions to be equal, but I'm not ready to send out a card which says, "Have a blessed Festivus, Kwanzaa, Hanukah, Ramadan, winter solstice kind of Christmas!" Now, if somebody believes in Festivus, Kwanzaa, Hanukah, Ramadan, and the winter solstice, I hope it's their best celebration ever. But for me and my house, our cards are going to wish loved ones a "blessed Christmas."
Similarly, if people on my block want to put up an eight-foot-tall inflatable snowman, more power to them. If the folks next door want to have a display that takes enough electricity to power a small African nation, that's great. But if anybody says my display must be secular, I'm going to smile and say, "I don't think so." And then I'm going to dust off our crèche and spend some time looking at it, and thinking about the Savior who came to save me from my sins.
When the clerks at the stores wish me, "Happy Holidays!" I'm going to say, "I don't think so," and then I'll wish them a politically incorrect, "Blessed Christmas!" Not a "Merry Christmas," mind you, because Christmas isn't always merry. No, I'll wish them a blessed Christmas because the Savior and the salvation His sacrifice brings, is always blessed.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, grant this year I and other believers may point the world to the Savior. If possible, let our words be gentle as we proclaim Him who has called us out of darkness into Your marvelous light. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries