The War on Christmas?
December 9, 2011
Yep, here I am actually blogging again and it’s the month of December when my life is crazy busy. For a geek, I really don’t blog enough but that’s probably because I spend most of my time talking in one way or another. Plus, writing all these papers for classes makes me feel like I should be more “formal” in my blogs but today I’ve decided to sit back and rant for a little while…..
So, what am I ranting about? This whole crazy war on Christmas thing. I’m pretty well sick and tired of it. I’ve been in and out of “professional” ministry for close to twenty years but I have also spent my time working in retail and other “real” jobs. I remember working at Books-A-Million a few Christmases ago and telling one of our customers, “I hope you have a nice holiday.” She gave me this rather sad look and said, “It’s okay to say Merry Christmas.” Well, of course I knew it was okay! The company had not told me to stop saying Merry Christmas….I was just being pleasant. Most of my life this time of the year has been called the holiday season.
So, why was I used to it being called the holiday season? Well, I grew up in the frakkin’ 20th century, that’s why! I understand that I might meet Jewish people celebrating Hannukah and I also knew that most people I met didn’t even really understand the religious implications of the Christmas season. In fact, I grew up in a home that rarely went to church and much of Christmas’ religious qualities largely went unnoticed…..and you know what? I wasn’t the exception to the rule! I had friends who went to church every Sunday and I don’t remember them talking about Jesus or the Virgin Birth. I did, however, hear a lot about the so-called Wise Men (who, if you look at the Bible, didn’t show up until Jesus was 2 or 3 years old) because, hey, they brought gifts! That, for me and most Americans, is what Christmas is (or was) all about! It was about giving gifts to your friends and family while spending some quality time together!
So, how did we spend Christmas in my household? In my teens, my older brother would bring his family over and we would all hang out and eat. We would catch up on what had been going on in each others lives and sit around playing Bourre’ (a card game involving the loss of much money between us). There would usually be an argument or two, some smiling, singing and eggnog if I could slip a glass or two my way. On Christmas Day, we would tear into the gifts, laugh a little, eat some more and then, if we were lucky, we went to a movie.
Now, I will be honest. This is one of the experiences in my life that I have found to be pretty blasted typical of most Americans. So, how do I view this holiday now that I am a pretty serious (well, I do joke a lot but that’s not the point) Christian and a minister to boot? First of all, I start celebrating Advent. This begins four Sundays before Christmas and it is a blast for my family and me. We prepare our hearts for the continual coming of the Living Christ into our lives and look forward to that Day when the Second Advent will come and New Creation will break out across the face of the world. (Or, in geek terms, when God breaks down the dimensional walls between heaven and earth and kicks Cthulhu in the gnads while making everything into the New Eden. Hey, I’m an idealist, go with it.)
So, what does this have to do with the <insert booming preacher voice> War on Christmas? Not….A……Damn……Thing! Yep, I said it. Can you imagine the Prince of Peace worried about a “war” on a day that the church arbitrarily chose for Him? Can you imagine Him being upset about it? This fellow who “possessed no splendid form for us to see, no desirable appearance ” and “was despised and avoided by others” wouldn’t really care about this whole thing would He? (See Isaiah 53 for more details.)
So, my fellow Christians, I am not going to let you off the hook. Are you worried about the “War on Christmas”? Well, don’t get ticked off because people are not celebrating this Holy Day (yeah, that’s where holiday comes form) the way you think is appropriate. Don’t take out your anger on some poor, unsuspecting retail clerk and do not expect greedy corporations to toe the line and have people saying “Merry Christmas.” This whole holiday is commercialized and you’re worried about whether or not someone selling you some junk made in a sweat shop is giving you the right, trite phrase? Get a life.
If you want to celebrate the true Spirit of the Season then why don’t you take all the gifts out from under the tree, take them back to the store and use that money to help fund a local food bank, the Salvation Army, or the benevolent ministries of your local church. Then get up on Sunday morning, worship the Living Christ, and then go out and help in those soup kitchens. Or, maybe, why don’t you do like the repentant Ebeneezer Scrooge and “honor Christmas in your heart, and try to keep it all year.” How do you keep Christmas all year long? Feed the hungry, help the poor, visit the prisoner all the while showing them your love for this Jesus by living this new, redeemed life He has given you.
Do you still love me? Hope so. If not, that’s okay to……
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