Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He worked in a carpenter shop until He was 30. Then for three years, He was an itinerant preacher.
He never owned a home. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never put His foot inside a big city. He never traveled 200 miles from the place He was born.
He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself.
While still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. One of them denied Him. He was turned over to His enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed upon a cross between two thieves.
While He was dying, His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had on earth ó His coat. When He was dead, He was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.
Nineteen long centuries have come and gone, and today He is a centerpiece of the human race and leader of the column of progress.
I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, all the navies that were ever built; all the parliaments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that one solitary life.
ó This excerpt is from a sermon by Dr. James Allan Francis in "The Real Jesus and Other Sermons," a collection published in 1926 by the Judson Press of Philadelphia.
I am again devoting space to the above essay because so much of Christmas has been subverted by the American Civil Liberties Union and the swarm of secular progressives in this country.
As more Americans come to realize how much of a threat the ACLU and its financial backers have become to the American way of life, itís worth pausing to remember the true meaning of Christmas.
Christmas is not a winter festival. It is not a designation of a retail season. It is not about Santa Claus, Frosty the Snowman, red-nosed reindeer and colorful lights. It is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, the Savior to billions of people. It is the second most important date in the Christian calendar, second only to the resurrection of Jesus, celebrated at Easter.
The commercialization of Christmas is not a new phenomenon. But the all-out attack on this most holy of days by the ACLU and its secular stormtroopers has reached a fever pitch.
There are severe repercussions in modern American society to being labeled anti-Semitic (see Mel Gibson). And nobody wants to draw the wrath of Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton by being labeled a racist (see Michael Richards). But Christian-bashing is accepted, especially among the liberal elite who control the media and the nationís education system.
The time will soon come when roving bands of maniacal liberals will break into people's homes to search for Nativity scenes and other Christian symbols. It's a logical step for the Christian-hating left, which has succeeded (with the help of activist judges) in removing all Christian symbols and ideas from the public square, especially the school system.
Why are children being forced to immerse themselves in something called Kwanzaa (a harvest festival invented by a radical California college professor in 1966) but students are not allowed to study the historic and cultural significance of our Judeo-Christian heritage.
Why is Christmas an officially recognized federal holiday but no mention of it is allowed in schools. ACLU-apologists can spin it any way they want, but Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.
What can you or I do to confront the anti-Christian tide? A few small things go a long way. Wish everyone a "Merry Christmas" instead of "Happy Holidays."
Don't patronize stores that put up "Seasonís Greetings" banners instead of "Merry Christmas" signs. Display the Nativity on your front lawn instead of Santa or Rudolph or Frosty. Go see "The Nativity Story" at your local movie theater. Attend a church service this Christmas.
Stand up to the secular fringe. The United States is a nation where 85 percent of the people are Christian. You are the majority. Stand up for your rights for a change. Demand that your local school board restore Christmas to an equal footing with "harvest festivals."
When it comes to the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, it's time for Christians to stop turning the other cheek and fight back against the secular progressives.
Tony Phyrillas is a leading conservative political columnist and blogger based in Pennsylvania. He is a veteran journalist with 25 years experience as a reporter, editor and columnist for several newspapers. Phyrillas received recognition for column writing in 2010 from the Associated Press Managing Editors, in 2007 from Suburban Newspapers of America and in 2006 from the Society of Professional Journalists, Keystone Chapter. A graduate of Penn State University, Phyrillas is the city editor and political columnist for The Mercury, a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning daily newspaper in Pottstown, Pa. In addition to The Mercury website (www.pottsmerc.com), his columns are featured on more than a dozen political websites and blogs. Phyrillas is a frequent guest (and occasional host) on talk radio and has been a panelist on the "Journalists Roundtable" public affairs TV program on the Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN). Phyrillas was named one of the '10 Leading Greek-American Bloggers in the World' in 2007 by Odyssey: The World of Greece magazine. BlogNetNews.com ranked Phyrillas the Most Influential Political Blogger in Pennsylvania for three consecutive years (2007-2010). You can follow Phyrillas on Twitter @TonyPhyrillas