This past Sunday I filled the pulpit as my Pastor wrapped up a week of vacation.  I chose to deliver a message built around the visit of the Magi.  I titled the sermon, “How the Grinch Almost Stole Christmas,” the Grinch of course being King Herod.   One of the points presented was Herod’s hostility to the new King.  I compared his hostility to the animosity against Christmas in America today.

A few days ago, I read a story written by Fox News and Commentary Radio Personality, Todd Starnes.  He reported about VA hospitals around the Country refusing gifts, carols, and cards if these wishes used the phrases “Merry Christmas,” “God Bless You,” or included Scriptural references.   At one hospital, a school wished to sing carols, but before the kids visited the patients, the VA sent a list of “government approved” songs, 12 in number.  Frosty the snowman made the cut, and knowing the current Administration, probably “Barry Did You Know.”  Any references to the sacred and spiritual meaning of Christmas wound up on the banned list.  I shared this news with our Congregation and unexpectedly, I found myself choking back tears.

Yes, over the last couple of years God’s certainly tenderized my heart, but I didn’t expect the tears on Sunday morning.  Sitting in the congregation, my dad sat teary-eyed as well.  My grief stems not from a sadness for myself, but for the future of my children.  For an instant, I imagined the school children of Grace Academy in Prosper, TX, hunched over their desks, meticulously drawing Christmas cards to cheer men and women recovering from wounds suffered while defending our Country.  I pictured them drawing Christmas Trees, Stars, and Stables, each buckling down to give their very best.  I also envisioned the disappointment on their faces as they discovered any cards wishing America’s brave warriors a “Merry Christmas” or an appreciated “God Bless You” would not be shared.  How does a teacher who instructs about the Constitution explain that political correctness now trumps the First Amendment?

It’s quite possible future soldiers attend this school, but when they become old enough to enlist, why should they place their lives on the line for a Country stripping away the Constitutional rights their fighting to protect?

Two thousand years ago, King Herod failed at eliminating Christmas.  Today, once again it’s the Government actively working to erase any public vestiges of Christmas, and without the Grace and Mercy of God, the America we’ve grown to love, celebrations and all, could become nothing more than an ancient memory.  But there’s good news.

Ban Christmas.  Outlaw Christmas.  Bow at the white round base of Frosty the Snowman.  No one can take away the spirit of Christmas nor the reason we celebrate.

And that’s the birth of Christ.

So, the VA didn’t nor can it steal Christmas but instead it swiped away encouragement and cheer.  And what do I say to that?

Bah, humbug.”

*Update:  I contacted the Grace Academy School.  This was the school that made Christmas cards for soldiers, but the VA refused to allow the Students to pass them out if they referenced “Christmas” or had Scripture.  I think it would be awesome if we sent the school thank-you cards for attempting to make our military wounded’s Christmas brighter.  I received the response below from the school along with mailing information.

Mr. Ridenour, Thank you so much for your kind words. The entire 6th-9th grade students were responsible for making the cards (52 students). Thank you notes would be such a blessing to these students to show them that they are supported in their efforts of standing up for what is right. You may send them directly to the school,

ATTN: Mrs. Chapman, Math and she will ensure that they are shared with the students.  Grace Academy of North Texas 4255 E. Prosper Trail, Prosper, TX  75078

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