Winner of presidential Christmas ad is Ron

From Chuck Norris and

“Are you about worn out by all the television commercials you’ve been seeing, mostly about politics? Well, I don’t blame you,” said GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee in the opening of his Christmas television greeting to Iowans.

“At this time of year, sometimes it’s nice to pull aside from all of that and just remember that what really matters is the celebration of the birth of Christ and being with our family and friends.”

A few decades ago, those descriptive Christmas words would be as benign as Santa making a list and checking it twice. Today, however, they are regarded as Christmas cultural and political sparring jargon.

Immediately upon release, political pundits began trying to punch holes in Mike’s goodwill cheer, while the other presidential candidates purchased festive clothes and scurried to produce competing Christmas commercials.

Like a World Combat League fight, the Christmas ad war had begun.

When the Christmas culture war hits the presidential race

Of course, in today’s political climate, no Christmas broadcast is a simple yuletide greeting. Even it is dissected for a malevolent motif and ornamental fluff.

Critics from the right and left started swinging at Mike, accusing him of sending subliminal messages in cross-shaped window panes and rallying the religious right by his call to focus on “what really matters.” Complaints from religious intolerance to Christian jihad flew out from both camps.

Some regarded the publicized Christmas wish as an appeal to evangelicals and an indirect attack on Mitt Romney’s Mormonism.

Others like rival Republican candidate Ron Paul labeled it with these extreme comments to Fox News, “It reminds me of what Sinclair Lewis once said. He says, ‘when fascism comes to this country, it will be wrapped in the flag, carrying a cross.’ Now I don’t know whether that’s a fair assessment or not, but you wonder about using a cross, like he is the only Christian or implying that subtly. So, I don’t think I would ever use anything like that.” (I think very few Americans would agree with Paul’s summary as a “fair assessment” of Mike’s heartfelt Christmas salutation.)

Huckabee’s response to his critics was simply to explain that he referred to Jesus Christ in his unscripted Christmas commercial because, “considering the meaning of the holiday, ‘I don’t know what else to say about Christmas.'” Should he have spoken about Santa or reindeer?

Imitation still the best form of flattery

The other presidential candidates followed suite by reducing their political negativity of opponents, putting on some Christmas garb, and sounding a little like ol’ saint Nick – I mean Mike.

Rudy Guilian tried on the Santa-comedy coat with his fruitcake commercial.

Ron Paul chose a safe, neutral holiday greeting.

Mitt Romney sent out a family Christmas card.

John Edwards appealed to the poor in spirit and pocketbook.

Barack Obama called Americans to “all have a stake in each other.”

And Hillary Clinton advanced universalism to an all-new yuletide and socialist level.

And the winner is Ron…

So the question is: who won the Christmas culture ad war? My answer will probably surprise you: Ronald Reagan.

One of my pastors recently shared with me a video of Reagan, who reminded us on Dec. 23, 1981, of the real reason for the Christmas season – during a time when political correctness wasn’t as much a part of the packaging. In a nationally televised Christmas proclamation from the White House, Reagan declared:

At this special time of year, we all renew our sense of wonder in recalling the story of the first Christmas in Bethlehem nearly 2,000 years ago.Some celebrate Christmas as the birthday of a great and good philosopher and teacher. Others of us believe in the divinity of the Child born in Bethlehem, that he was and is the promised Prince of Peace. Yes, we questioned why he who could perform miracles chose to come among us as a helpless babe, but maybe that was his first miracle, his first great lesson that we should learn to care for one another.

Tonight, in millions of American homes, the glow of the Christmas tree is a reflection of the love Jesus taught us. Like the shepherds and wise men at that first Christmas, we Americans have always tried to follow a higher light, a star, if you will. At lonely campfire vigils along the frontier, in the darkest days of the Great Depression, through war and peace, the twin beacons of faith and freedom have brightened the American sky. At times, our footsteps may have faltered, but trusting in God’s help, we’ve never lost our way. …

So let this holiday season be for us a time of rededication. Christmas means so much because of One Special Child. …

Imagine if some president or candidate were to say those words today? He would probably be impeached if president or publicly flogged by political commentators if running for such a position.

Reagan sounded more like a preacher than a politician. He conveyed more about Christ in Christmas in this couple-minute December address than all the current candidates combined in their entire campaigns.

And we complain today about one reference to Christ in a presidential Christmas ad?

There’s a reason Ed Rollins, who led Reagan to victory in 1984 and is now campaign manager for Huckabee, draws significant similarities between Mike and the president many call “the greatest in the 20th century,” saying “I was with the old Reagan, and I can promise you this man comes as close as anyone to filling those shoes.”

What really matters

Friends, it is Christmas, and we’ve hit an all-time low when prospective presidents cannot jump off the negative verbal slurry sleigh and post a bit of Christmas cheer on televisions across any state or even this nation. Equally tragic is a contemporary culture that accuses a presidential candidate, who wishes others a Christ-filled Christmas in the heart of December, of playing the religious card.

Mike Huckabee’s words still stand, “and just remember that what really matters is the celebration of the birth of Christ and being with our family and friends.”

From my household to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christ-filled Christmas. And we bow our heads in prayer in particular for all who serve the cause of freedom and are away from their family and friends at this time of year. Thank you for giving us the greatest gift of all – another superb example of the type of sacrifice Christ showed – “no greater love than one who lays down his life for a friend.”


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