During this past Advent season as my wife and I prepared to welcome Jesus anew into our story, I enjoyed reading many inspiring thoughts of Jesus coming to live among us.  But after reading the following tweet, I must say I was disturbed.  I could not get the one sentence out of my mind. 

On Christmas Eve, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont sent out the following tweet: “It was the labor movement that brought you the holiday weekend.”  The day before, Sanders had tweeted: “The Democratic Party must once again become the party that stands for the working class in this country.”  To me, this is mixing ideology with religion. 

I have intentionally tried to stay out of politics in this blog, instead taking my stand on “Jesus and His kingdom.”  But Senator Sanders’ quote was just too much for me. The message seems intended to change the narrative of Christmas.  Associating the labor movement with any religious “holy day” seems to warrant outcry – if not at least a good bit of clarification.

When looked at through one lens, this sitting senator seems to imply that the Christmas tradition was brought by the labor movement to a culture starving for some “Good News”.  However, it was the angeI of the Lord who told the shepherds, “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people” (Luke 2:10).  I respect the Senator for his courage to foster positive change in our country.  I do not, however, share the view that “the labor movement” is responsible for Christmas. 

First, the senator seems to be total disregarding history. Christmas, which celebrates the birth of God’s only begotten Son by the Virgin Mary has been celebrated for 2,000 years all over the world.  The early labor movement may have played a role in President Grant’s 1870 declaration of Christmas as a federal holiday, but regardless of Grant’s declaration, the birth of Jesus would still be celebrated.  The light might go dim, but it will never go out. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it” (John 1:5 NLT).  Certainly not a U.S. Senator’s voice.

Secondly, equating the “labor movement” with Christmas can be perceived as bordering on idolatry.  Could it be that a human construct, which has helped many Americans raise their standard of living, has become a religion for some?  I grew up among iron miners in Northern Michigan.  I see how labor unions have helped struggling families. My people were solidly union.  But Senator Sanders, only the gospel of Jesus Christ can save us.  The elderly Simeon, upon seeing the baby Jesus, proclaimed, “For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people.” (Luke 2:30-31). 

Thirdly, Christmas (the birth of Christ) really happened. The Creator of the universe sent his Son into the world, to bring all of us together through his death on the cross. Christ’s birth, death and resurrection happened so we could have the peace our world so desperately seeks. “For God was pleased to have his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross” (Col. 1:19).

Finally, our contemporary, secular world will never drown out the music heard throughout the heavens, giving worship and praise to Lord Jesus.  It will go on for all eternity. “To him, who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever” (Rev 4:13).