Monday, November 25, 2013

Book Review: War on Christmas: Battles in Faith, Tradition, and Religious Freedom by Bodie Hodge

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received these book, free of charge, from  Handlebar Publishing, for review purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about them.


christmas idea moose


Up today I have a book that is both relevant to the season,
and controversal for its honesty!

the war on christmas cover

Synopsis:

Filled with family get-togethers, office parties, breaks from school, decorating the tree, and more, Christmas is a time of peace and love. So why has so much controversy clouded this sacred holiday?

-Is it a bunch of pagan symbols “Christianized” for the celebration?
-Why is our concept of Christmas so important for those who don’t believe in Jesus?
-Most may say Christmas is about the birth of Jesus, but are we truly worshiping Him or just celebrating the earthly gifts we give ourselves?

 It has become ground zero in an ongoing culture war where Nativity scenes are nixed, Merry Christmas becomes Happy Holidays, and even the word “Christmas” is considered by some as offensive. Find the truth about Christmas and the Christian’s response to a culture that seems to be declaring war.


Review

Have you noticed the subtle changes in our country? How many times are you told "Happy Holidays" (with Hanukkah at Thanksgiving this year, it really IS all about Christmas this year!) , when Christmas shopping? How many Nativity scenes have been relegated to the storage bin, and not allowed to be put on display, to keep from 'offending anyone'? HAVE we as a nation, founded on Christian beliefs, taken Christ out of Christmas? All this and more is what the author is taking on, with this new book!

The author does brings historical fact, bible references and traditions together, and explains items like:
Where did the name Christmas come from?
When was Jesus born?
Misconceptions surrounding Christmas
Why do we need the babe in Bethlehelm?
Did Mary remain a Virgin?
Why Creation is important to Christmas

He does a great job in exposing the truths and beginning of my familiar legends and traditions, around Christmas, many of which the reader may not even realize (like the 3 kings are never named in the bible, nor if there was really 3 to begin with), and making sure that the reader understands what they are actually believing in. 

My only issue with the book was when the author hit on Santa. I understand how for many families, Santa is all about material goods and behaving, and there is nothing else there, as the author points out. However, I differ from his point that children should NOT be allowed to believe in Santa at all. I believe it is up to the PARENTS to handle it appropriately, and then your child will as well. If you as parents make Santa all about gifts and behaving for 3 months of the year, then yes, why should your children not think of it as silly and a lie set about by their parents. If however, you make it as our family, and those of our friends, do, and keep to the tradition of St Nicholas, and share with others, then you can keep the tradition alive, and your kids will be perfect FINE psychologically when they get older. Seriously, HOW you handle when the kids find out the truth is 9/10ths of the issue (and I've shared a great book on that topic with you last year). I'm guessing based on other reviews of this book that I read, that a LOT of parents did NOT handle 'the revelation' well, and people has some issues with it STILL.Little confused on that, but then my parents handled it well.

And besides, my 6 year old has a firm hold on the idea that Santa is really one of God's angels, bringing JOY to children. It's hard to argue with that, when she is boxing up items for Operation Christmas Child, and telling me she is helping Santa, help God. It may not be the author's concept of Christianity, but I know the empathy my child has for others, and the Santa legend is not harming her any (nor is her Elf, who keeps an eye on her YEAR round and send letters when she does something really great for other people!). It's all in HOW you incorporate your faith into the secular traditions! 

This book can be a huge help to new parents in thinking about what they want to continue in their families, how they want to present aspects of the season to their children, and ones they may want to discontinue. It's a great reference book for Sunday school teachers and pastors as well. The book needs to be read with an open mind, and then the reader can make their own decisions, based on their faith and practices. It is a gorgeous book, and one that would be great for gift giving to those in pastoral positions.



About the Author: 

Bodie Hodge has been a writer, speaker, and researcher for Answers in Genesis since 2003. He writes and speaks on a host of topics including The Fall of Satan and The Tower of Babel. He is passionate about providing biblical answers to believers, seekers, and non-believers. Check out his website for more.

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