Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christ is still in Christmas here...

I have read for years about communities that are systematically excluding Christ from Christmas, with ever-increasing commercialization of the holiday, removal of religious symbols, and (in some cases) mixing of religious and secular symbols. (Here's a recent story.)

I’m happy to report that in my little town of Plymouth, Michigan, we still have a nativity scene in Kellogg Park, the “town square” in the heart of downtown. The park is also filled with Christmas trees sponsored by neighborhood businesses and organizations and decorated for the season. In addition to the crèche, there are also statues of three wise men riding camels that are moved closer and closer to the crèche until they are at the stable on Christmas. (The park also sports a large lighted menorah, and Santa has a house there, too, where he greets the children who come to see him.)

Not only is the crèche in the town square, but there are crèches that adorn the lawns of many of the churches in town, and the neighborhood yards, as well. (One of our neighbors used to have a sign in lights in their front yard, “Happy Birthday Jesus!”)

We attended holiday orchestra and choir concerts for my kids where we heard songs of the season, including religious songs (something that many districts won’t allow).

I’ve long believed that my family’s religious training is my responsibility. We pray at home, and I don’t particularly want my kids to pray in school. Our home has (my 11-year old daughter just counted them) 41 crèches. My wife’s piano students all see the three prints of the Savior we have in our living room. (A few years ago, the dad of one of those students – not LDS – defended us as Christian to one of his friends who claimed we weren’t, in part because of those prints.)

But I’m happy to live in a community where there is tolerance and acceptance of religious belief. We have many strong Catholic and Protestant congregations in our community and most of our non-LDS friends are active in one (which makes for tough missionary work, but great neighbors).

What about where you live? Do you see signs of Christ in Christmas?

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