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THE SIGNIFICANCE OF CHRISTMAS TO AMERICANS


The Barna Research Group poll, conducted for the Lutheran Hour Ministries found that:


37% of adults in the national survey (88% of whom identified themselves as Christian) said the birth of Jesus is the most important aspect of Christmas.


More than 75% of evangelical Christians placed Jesus’ birth as of first importance on Christmas.


Only 32% of those who identified themselves as fundamentalists gave that answer.


Only 29% of Catholics placed Jesus’ birth first.

Only 24% of theological liberals said the birth of Christ made Christmas important for them.


44% of the respondents said family time is the most important part of one of the three most sacred days (along with Good Friday and Easter) on the calendar.


26% of respondents ages 18 to 34 said the birth of Jesus was the most important aspect of Christmas.


39% among respondents 65 and older said the same thing.


Only 3% said presents or parties were the most important part of Christmas. The same percentage that said the best thing about Christmas was getting a paid holiday.


"I guess it demonstrates what preachers have been wringing their hands over for some time: Christ has been evacuated from Christmas," said the Rev. William Willimon, a theologian and Duke University chaplain. "It’s good to know where we are. Christmas has been a co-opted holiday."


"Americans are more likely to correctly recall the significance of April 15 than they are to connect Christmas with the birth of Jesus. As America becomes increasingly anesthetized to Christian principles and practices, it seems only fitting that we have contracted acute amnesia regarding the spiritual significance of December 25," said pollster George Barna.


Barna goes on to say, "Even with all that I know about how secularized our culture has become, I would have thought that more people would say Christmas, the birth of Jesus."


SOURCE: From "Making Room For Christ At Christmas" by Mike Hays. CITATION: www.barna.org



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