"Merry Christmas, but first, let's fight."
I had to chuckle when Louisville football coach Bobby Petrino got mixed up in the U of L/UK pre-game brawl last weekend and was photographed grabbing the collar of UK assistant coach Dan Berezowitz. There is no audio, the encounter only lasted for a moment, and there were a lot of staff members out on the field trying to corral the unruly players, so we don't know what took place. My laughter came from having done exactly the same thing in crowd situation some time ago with a very drunk and aggressive concert goer. So, mea culpa.
The air has been full of controversy in recent days, and some people take the Christmas season as an opportunity to stir up even more. The internet is full of posts that amount to "So there!" or "I told you so!" or "Hurrah for our side!" (Insert your favorite cause, or anti-cause, here.) It is, simply put, tiresome. There are many real concerns, don't get me wrong. What is tiresome is our need to dominate others. There is a time and place to be dominant. My beagle must be reminded that I am the big dog. Your children need to know who the parent is. People who mistreat others need strong boundaries - sometimes to the point of legal restraint. And of course, when you are dunking the basketball, I do not advise worrying about the defensive player's feelings.
However, we can get in the habit of trying to dominate others. This creates bad leadership, split communities, anti-social behavior, counter-productive action by authorities, and ultimately, a lot of despair. Are we ourselves perpetuating this? It is certainly tempting to do so, and most news programs are geared to make us mad at something every day. A great example of this is the so-called "war on Christmas." Christians get all worked up this time of year, fearing offense by simple little greetings like "Happy Holidays." Goodness, have you been shopping? Have you not seen the decorations or heard the music? Imagine being Jewish or Hindu, and walking through the mall. They would hardly feel that Christmas is being slighted! Christian whining in this season comes off as a desire to dominate people of other faiths, rather than to share the love of Christ.
Trust me on this, the store clerks will not be positively impressed by our sanctity if it comes at their expense.
The Prince of Peace was not a pushover, but he also wasn't a bully. (And note: I have known some bullies who hid behind otherwise good causes.)
So, this Christmas, try a little kindness. It is the Christian thing to do.
Christ's Peace, Greg Bain