This sign is displayed next to a Christmas tree and nativity scene in the Capital Building in Olympia, Washington. The conservative response was not quiet. I couldn't help but become angry when I saw the sign. It doesn't stop at the atheist claim that God does not exist. It says that my personal relationship with Jesus Christ hardens my heart and enslaves my mind. I know Psalm 10:17 says that the Lord strengthens my heart. Romans 8:6 says, "For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace." God doesn't enslave my mind. He gives me peace.
I was not alone. Christians were outraged nationwide. Bill O'Reily called it "political correctness gone mad." The sign even disappeared within an hour of being put up. It was soon found in a ditch on the side of the road. A part of me even felt a little satisfaction when I found out it had been stolen.
However, my satisfaction soon turned to conviction.
Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-founder of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, said they would replace the sign with a new note saying, "Thou shalt not steal."
"I guess they don't follow their own commandments," Gaylor said.
Gaylor may be wrong in her beliefs about God, but she does have a point that this is not the way God would want His children to respond.
At today's fall graduation, Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, made a fantastic observation. He said, "Isn't it interesting that atheists are so intimidated by the birth of a little baby that they have to put up a sign to refute it?"
What a great perspective. Newborns can't walk or talk. They can't survive if left to fend for themselves. What could possibly be threatening about a newborn baby to an organized group of adults who claim that there is nothing beyond our natural world?
The only answer is that they are afraid that the birth of Jesus Christ disproves everything they claim to believe. He is God Incarnate. He was prophesied throughout the Old Testament. He was born of a virgin conception. He lived a sinless life, died a voluntary death, rose again to conquer the grave, and ascended to prepare a place for us. He will intercede as our High Priest until He returns one day for those who profess Him as their Lord and Savior.
Philippians 2:1-12 says, So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
It is my prayer this Christmas that Christians will not get caught up in the culprits who try to "steal" Christmas, the cost of Christmas, or any other distraction. Rather, let the Christ of Christmas truly be the only focus this year.