Podcast #67: How Ben Stole Christmas

At the end of this podcast, Ben pleads for you, our listeners, to please refrain from sending him hatemail. Little does he know that Christmas is such a divisive topic among Christians that Rich is likely to receive just as much from those who take offense to his loosey-goosey attitude toward secular Christmas traditions. Why does Ben want to deprive his child the joy of seeing a bunch of presents around the tree on Christmas morning? And why does Rich see Christmas as some sort of crazy secular/sacred tradition gumbo? You’ll have to listen to find out!

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Adam Carrington

    Ben, thou are a helpless, hopeless Scrooge of a Grinch nave and by the power of St. Nicholas I condemn(eth) thee for thy sacrilege.

  • David Dunham

    I think a super-imposed clip of Ben’s head on the Grinch’s body would have been a better image, any seconds?

  • Dang, good point.

  • Okay, no more Xmas posts unless they feature someone other than Rich or Ben. Nothing against you two, but you’re treading the same ground that you’ve trod many times before. We get it, Ben doesn’t like the consumerism and garishness of the Xmas season and finds it distracts him from Christ and Rich gets high on nostalgia and chintz and this somehow reminds him all the more that Jesus came. They’re perfectly fine opinions to hold. It’s just you’ve already told us all this before.

    Here’s a question for each of you (proving that you shouldn’t pay any attention to the above claim that I’ve heard enough from you about Xmas).

    To Ben: I celebrate a secular Xmas and use the holiday as I do pretty much every other holiday—as a time to enjoy enjoyment through food, friends, and family. I celebrate Christ’s advent weekly if not daily, so the focus of a religious Xmas seems unnecessary to me. If gift-giving, garish decorations, and trite sentimentalism via canned seasonal soundtracks were to disappear from my celebration of the holiday, I would not be overly disappointed (save for the fact that I love making and giving gifts to people, whether for Xmas or for otherwise). My question to you is this: Have you considered whether or not a secular celebration of Xmas might not allow you to participate in the holiday with as much relish as holidays you clearly enjoy, e.g. Independence Day and Thanksgiving?

    To Rich: Your enjoyment of Xmas seems largely built on a foundation of nostalgia and sentimentalism (hence the devotion to tradition and the ability to shift one’s perspective in such a way as to see Xmas decor as something aesthetically pleasing). Which is fine. Some people are all about nostalgia and the preparation of the present for the nostalgia of the future. It’s not a game I play so much, but I can see the allure. I think I have two questions for you. First, it feels like your purpose for Xmas is the happy-warm feelings it gives you and that you’re just draping Xian meaning over it in order to sanctify (see? when you say sanctify instead of redeem, it magically becomes acceptable to say) a holiday you clearly enjoy. How much do you think this is the case and how much do you think I’m massively misreading you on this one? Second, Have you ever considered why nostalgia plays such a big role in your life? And if so, from where do you see your sentimentalism arising?

    Personally, I kind of find myself between you guys in that I enjoy Christmas and pretty much agree with Ben on almost every count. I’m not a fan of the Christian fetishization of the holiday (in fact, for me, Christian use of the holiday may well be the worst part of it for me since I don’t have to participate in consumer culture but I do have to participate in church culture), but I enjoy it very much in my own way.

  • Matt

    I think I’ll send Rich some ribbon for Christmas, so it will truly be the most wonderful time of the year.