“Render to Caesar…” Or Say Merry Christmas

christmasMark 12:17 teaches us, “And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. And they marveled at him.”

For modern day, rendering to Caesar means many things: such as paying taxes, having to do things in the workplace you may not care for – but you have to support your family with an income, or something as simple (and controversial) as having to be politically correct during the Holiday (CHRISTMAS!) Season. Here is a true story that happened in Griffin, Georgia last night…

In a restaurant of good repute, I sat with my husband. We eat there every week, at least once, to enjoy my husband’s addiction to their steak and pasta. I heard the manager, of whom we know well, inform quietly to a customer, “We can only say ‘Merry Christmas’ if the customer says it first.”

I cringed – for I know she is a Christian. I also know she needs this job. Another case of “rendering to Caesar” in the workplace – I could feel the sadness in her voice. At least, I thought, she has a loophole to say the real reason for the season…

I did not say anything but remembered my own years in retail and the restaurant industries. As I am aging into my forties, those years are twenty years ago – and it was a different time – perhaps, a better time. I once worked in a cafe during Christmas and always rang up my customers with a “Merry Christmas” and we never had a problem. But that was then; this is now.

As the manager finished her quiet conversation, (I am sure that entire conversation was risky, but I applaud her honesty), a young girl about seventeen was wished “Happy Holidays!” by a server. Muttering, “You idiot, it’s ‘Merry Christmas!’” she ignored the greeting and exited the restaurant with her family. I could hear their running commentary the entire time as they exited.

I looked at my husband. “Should I chase her down and educate her?”

He shook his head, “Fannie, you can’t save the world!”

“But they didn’t even wish the server anything about ‘Merry Christmas!’ It was simply, get up, walk out, and the server was being nice. I do not care she said something that was politically correct – she cannot really say what she wanted to say! The customers have to take the initiative! It’s like a freaking code…”

“A code of political correctness by their employer to deny our Lord’s birthday,” he ended. Upon reflection he added, “Yet they do have that small loophole…”

“But they have to work,” I informed him, “Another case of…”

“Yes, Fannie, that entire render to Caesar comment you make at least three times a day…”

I sat back and shook my head. Later, we ate, served by the same server. I said nothing but enjoyed my dinner. However, as we rose to leave, after paying for our meal, I looked her dead in the eye with a huge smile and bellowed, “Merry Christmas!”

Guess what she bellowed back?

“And a Merry Christmas to you!”

So, before you start criticizing people in specific industries because they wish you “Happy Holidays,” remember, there may a policy. They need their jobs. They have to render to Caesar and not everyone has the luxury of being a teenager and make a snotty comment. She hasn’t entered the real world yet; just her luxury of a running commentary on people who have to work to support their families. Accept any holiday greetings – but be the first to greet them with it … You may be in for a surprise that a company left a loop-hole for the believer in Christ…

For you might find Him in the process. As my Banner Atwood would say in A Woman’s Choice (debuting January 22, 2016 on Amazon and Smashwords): “And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” Luke 2:10.

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