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Book: The War on Christmas

The War on Christmas, by Bodie Hodge, was a good read in general. It's not without fault, but for the Christian exploring the origins of modern American Christmas celebrations, it's a handy resource.

What's good?

1. Simple reason: I'm a fan of attention-holding full-color books. The War on Christmas is one of these, and it's not overdone.

2. Historical reason: Hodge admits that the dating of the birth of Jesus at December 25th is tenuous at best. This is part of the overall effort in The War on Christmas to clarify what is and isn't Biblically accurate. By doing so, Hodge presents what parts of the Christmas "experience" we should and should not be willing to be picky about.

3. Reading reason: it's an easy, short read.

4. Theological reason: Hodge is clearly intent on only standing firmly on the Scripture here, rather than reaching out into the Victorian or traditional realm for requirements.

What's not-so-good?

1. North Pole Reason: while acknowledging that parents are responsible for deciding what to teach their kids regarding the American Santa Legend, Hodge flat-out calls it a lie. This means that if parents have taught their kids about Santa (or, perhaps Grandparents have,) they had best not let the kids read this book, because they will see their parents called liars. That's unhelpful, in my mind, for a book that otherwise would be a great family resource. It's a potential wedge in a family for a child to call Grandma and ask her why she lied about Santa.

2. Same song, different verse reason: Hodge has written extensively, and works with, Answers in Genesis, a ministry focused on demonstrating why the Biblical account of Creation is accurate. I like most of that work. I do not see the need to bring up the particulars of Young Earth Creationism in the Christmas story. On the one hand, The War on Christmas strives to be Biblical, while at the same time trying to connect Roman/Greek celebrations to Genesis to make a point. And those connections are sketchy. Save that for a more detailed account, rather than a simple approach book like this.

All-in-all, The War on Christmas touches briefly into all the areas surrounding the modern American Christmas and how those relate to a viable interpretation of the Bible. It's not perfect, but it's a worthwhile read.

(free book in exchange for the review)

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