Christmas time is justifiably considered one of the “most wonderful times of the year.” Unfortunately, however, Christmas time also comes with an increasing amount of tension over public nativities, Christmas trees, and even tension over the use of the word “Christmas.” Continuing the new American tradition of Christmas litigation, a California judge has recently upheld a Santa Monica ban on a nativity scene.

Unfortunately, the Christian group involved in this case responded by comparing the city of Santa Monica to Pontius Pilate, which seems more than a little excessive. Still, how should we evaluate the actions of a city that prefers peace over principle and allows a particular group of individuals to “win” simply because they caused a scene? And how should Christians respond in these situations? Is a Nativity display worth going to court over, or does such a suit negatively impact the Christian witness even in cases where Christians might be right?