Devotion in Motion: Contending for the faith (without being contentious)

3 ¶ Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation,  I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.  ~ Jude 1:3 (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash, “Country Preacher Dad”

The Bible tells us to contend for the faith. I’m all in favor of that. But I have to tell you, I don’t have much patience with people who think that the Lord’s admonition to share the Gospel entitles them to be knuckleheads. You can’t share Christian love and be hateful in the process. That’s why St. Paul told us to “speak the truth in love.” (Ephesians 4:15)

The Senior Citizen’s Class at my church (who are some of the jolliest and coolest people on the planet) asked me if I would write a letter for them to send to the local newspaper. They wanted to ask merchants to continue to say “Merry Christmas” instead of one of the more politically correct alternatives. The older folks said they would tell me their thoughts, I would craft the letter, and then they would approve my efforts when it met their exacting standards. Here’s the final product:

Dear Editor,

A person doesn’t live long enough to be offered a “Senior Citizen’s Discount” without having enough experiences to have learned a few things. Being the Sunday School class comprised of the “Senior Saints” of the Antioch Christian Church, we have a few thoughts that we would like to share with you. 

The Christmas season is upon us, and more and more we have noticed that merchants and friends are wishing us “Happy Holidays”.  We would like to encourage each and every one of you to continue to say “Merry Christmas!”  We realize that the movement that insists on political correctness may say that it is offensive to those who do not celebrate Christmas to be wished “Merry Christmas”—but we do not feel like this is fair.  The politically correct people call every other holiday by its proper name, and it is only right that OUR holiday is called by its proper name:  CHRISTMAS!

In olden times, the word “Christmas” was “Christ-mass”.  This was because Christmas was originally a communion service for the Church, with Christian friends and family meeting together to remember the birth of the Saviour, Jesus Christ. We want to preserve the name “Christmas”, as a reminder of this Reason for the Season.

We realize that you may have orders from your corporate bosses that forbid you to say “Merry Christmas!” We’re not asking you to be disobedient to your employers. We’re only asking you to do the best you can. And we offer you a quite simple guideline: “If a person is buying CHRISTMAS presents, a CHRISTMAS tree, CHRISTMAS wrapping paper, CHRISTMAS lights, CHRISTMAS cards, the makings of a CHRISTMAS dinner, or opening a CHRISTMAS club savings account — then this is a pretty good sign that you should wish them a MERRY CHRISTMAS!”

At this time when we the Church celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ and “Good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people” we wish you “Merry, Merry Christmas!” And we’re hoping you will wish us a “Merry Christmas” in return!

with Christmas blessings,

The Antioch Christian Church “Senior Saints” Sunday School Class

I think these older folks have made their point rather sweetly, don’t you? So, share the love of God and the joy of the first Christmas everywhere you go this week. Just don’t be a grump, ok?

Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 26 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days has a desk-job at a public school and teaches Latin on closed-circuit-television.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, and his sons, Spencer (age 20) and Seth (age 17) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the Preacher sometimes has to ask the Senior Saints to settle down so he can start Sunday School. 🙂 )  He would love to hear from you in an email sent to