4. Attacking Faith – or – Hope in an Empty Parking Lot


I’ve felt a lot of attacks on my Christian faith lately.
First, the holiday season always prompts the public educators tolerance talks where, if we mention Christmas, we should also mention all of the other holidays. I grow weary of saying, “Happy Holidays!” to all the kids lest their parents call the school about me offensively omitting their faith from the list.
Second, I was browsing at the bookstore and noticed a book that is now on the bestseller list that is basically about how religion is the cause of all of the world’s problems. I read a little bit of it and finally put it down, a bit horrified.
Third, I went to Target to get some Christmas lights and found a pretty ornament that said “Love.” I liked it and wondered if they also had faith and hope. I looked around and found the “Hope” ornament. Perfect, I thought. Now I just needed one more. But it didn’t exist. There were two more ornaments that matched the set. The first one said, “Wish,” which I thought was a lame new-age retake on the word “Faith.” The last one said, “Diva.” I kid you not. Can you imagine the Lewis Christmas tree proudly proclaiming our Wish, Hope, Love, and Diva?
Starbucks also had cookies that said, “Wish,” “Hope,” and “Love.” Apparently we are not to have faith in anything, but to just wish really hard for it. Maybe even throw some fairy dust on it and sing kum-bay-yah.
Without going into even more epi-ma-sodes where I see religious faith crumbling all around us, I’ll move on with my thoughts. The point is that my culture, which used to openly celebrate Christmas, has been watering down religion so much that it has been reduced to a materialistic celebration of whatever you believe hokus pokus.
The thing that got me through all of this, and gave me a glimmering shard of hope, was my errand on Christmas Day. I set out to find some kind of dessert to bring to an event later that day, and found that everything was closed. Every grocery store & restaurant, Target, and even most of the gas stations… all closed. The more stores I saw closed, the taller I sat and the more hope I felt. These were all closed on December 25th. Christmas. And it seemed that people still believed in at least closing down shop to be with family and friends for a day.
Though I still feel that religion is under attack, it warmed my heart to see that one day was still this important. No other holiday closes down business like Christmass. My little trip was worth it, even though I went back home with no dessert.