Billboards, Atheists, and Ambassadors at Christmas Time

Guest post by: Conway Wong 

As we enter the Christmas season most people turn their thoughts towards family and friends.  This is quite appropriate given that this season celebrates the birth of Jesus of Nazareth who Christians believe is God Incarnate.  We give gifts to one another because God the Father has given us the gift of His Son who lived the kind of life we should have lived and died the kind of death that we should have died.  The story doesn’t end with Jesus’ death because three days later He was seen by individuals and groups as being resurrected from the dead. 

Christmas is inevitably linked to the crucifixion and to Easter.  However, a recent billboard in St. Charles, Missouri calls the Christmas story a fairy tale that only little children should believe.  As our post-Christian society continues sliding down this pole, we should expect more and more of this.

The organization known as American Atheists is behind the billboard campaign that pictures a little girl in a Santa hat with the words:  “Dear Santa, All I want for Christmas is to skip church.  I’m too old for fairy tales.”These billboards have appeared in the Midwest and the South.  It is a clever advertisement for their upcoming national convention in April.  It has certainly gotten attention.  It may surprise you to hear that as a Christian, I actually welcome such attention because it serves as a natural inroad to engage your unbelieving family and friends in dialogue about important matters of faith.  You can ask your atheist friend, “Hey, what do you think of that billboard?”  Everyone has an opinion and are only too happy to share.

In our society today, religious opinions vary from the likes of someone like Stephen Hawking, the famous atheist theoretical physicist, who has said, “Heaven is a fairy tale for people afraid of the dark.”  Not to be outdone by this one-liner, the Oxford mathematician and Christian, John Lennox, shot back with “Atheism is a fairy tale for people afraid of the light.”  Lennox’s reply is pretty good!  Unfortunately, in a culture of sound bites and billboard argumentation, few people are well-informed enough to get beyond the one-liners.  Despite the difficulty, Christians ought to be willing to share their faith with more than just clever one-liners.  This is especially true given the sheer amount and quality of evidence for the truth of Christianity. 

A Christian who wishes to be an informed ambassador for Christ (2 Cor. 5:20) ought to know the following names and their work:  Craig Evans, N.T. Wright, Gary Habermas, William Lane Craig, Michael Licona, Paul Copan, Alvin Plantinga and scores of others I fail to mention due to space.If you are an atheist and don’t recognize the names just listed, I’m afraid you really don’t know your stuff and should not proclaim in ignorance that Christianity is a fairy tale.  We happen to know a whole lot about Jesus, His ministry, and His resurrection from early and credible historical evidence.  Fellow Christian, all one has to do is to study it like any good ambassador would.  A good ambassador would also represent Christ with gentleness and respect.

Of course, a Christian may not be interested in such things and just go on living life oblivious to the consequences of being a poor ambassador of Christ.  He would be oblivious to the fact that Christian youth, perhaps their own children, are inundated and live-streamed with just about every anti-Christian or skeptical view out there.  Is it any wonder that large numbers of Christian youth do not carry their faith into adulthood?  Is it any wonder that many Christian youth do not attend church when they are no longer subject to their parents’ authority?  Is it any wonder that children who were baptized at the age of eight no longer believe what they were taught and behave like it too?  Is it any wonder that our culture is post-Christian given that we have such poor ambassadors of Christ?

Fellow Christians, it doesn’t have to be this way.  As we get ready for Christmas and you see a sign like the billboard of American Atheists, think about how you might respond to a neighbor who asks you for the reason for the hope that is within you (1 Peter 3:15).  Would you be able to show that Jesus claimed to be the divine revelation of God and proved that He was telling the truth by rising from the dead after being crucified? I hope this could be our joint Christmas wish from Santa:  “Dear Santa, All I want for Christmas is to be a  faithful Christian who loves people enough to learn and share the truth that Jesus is who He claimed to be.”