I know Christmas is over, but…

I thought I might like to have the last word about Christmas.

Richard Land – one of my favorite radio personalities on the local Christian radio station I listen to, wrote a piece for the Washington Post titled, “Why it’s hard to be a Christian at Christmas“. You’ve got a whole month in which no one can escape your holiday, so what could you possibly find hard about Christmas? Let’s see:

What is it like to be “Christian” in America at Christmas time? By that question I don’t mean vaguely, culturally Christian in some civil religion sense, where one may or may not attend worship services at Christmas and Easter. I mean Christian in the sense of devout, practicing Christian, whether Protestant or Catholic, attending worship services more than once weekly and seeking to lead a life of spiritual discipline according to the dictates of the Christian faith.

I imagine Christians love Christmas time. After all, you get a whole month in which you can unashamedly and repeatedly inform the entire world of your interpretation of the “true meaning” of Christmas,  righteously declaring that while the rest of the world has Christmas all wrong, you’ve got Christmas right. You get to participate in Christmas plays and pageants, listen to music dedicated to your particular myth in stores and on radio stations everywhere you go, see plastic baby Jesusii on your neighbor’s lawns, visit your family, exchange gifts as a symbolic gesture of the gift of grace and salvation Jesus gave to you, all while the friends and family who aren’t Christian come together to celebrate Christmas in a way that gives them personal meaning and happiness. Sounds nice.

The answer is that it is difficult. It is painful, with hearts that are dedicated to the Savior whose birth we supposedly celebrate, to watch the secularization and commercialization of the holiday. Bethlehem and the manger story are almost completely obliterated in a blizzard of Santa Claus, Christmas trees and consumerism masquerading as gift giving. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not at war with St. Nick and we have a Christmas tree in our home with stockings etc., but when it camouflages the true meaning of Christmas it is tragic and sad.

So sorry, but non-Christians exist out there in the world. I don’t see why you find that so hard. Some of them like certain aspects of Christmas, but prefer to celebrate the holiday in their own way. Christmas means different things to different people. For some, it’s just another day. For others, Christmas is a celebration of the supposed birth of Jesus. That you have a hard time with Christmas because some of the world chooses to celebrate Christmas in a way that you dissaprove is pretty sad. How about you celebrate it your way, and I celebrate it my way? The only family that should matter to you is your own. By insisting that everybody else celebrate Christmas your way lest you experience pain and hurt, you’re cheapening your own holiday with your own self-righteousness. There is no camouflaging except what is between your own ears.

Trying to get back to the real meaning of Christmas-the greatest gift of love and sacrifice ever given-and it was given to all, everyone on earth-reminds me of the recent experience of a close friend of mine. He cajoled and corralled his extended family (wife, children, daughters-in-law, grandchildren) to spend Thanksgiving weekend at a large cabin in the Smokies. He told me later he was very disappointed with the first part of the weekend because everyone was doing their own thing via computer, smart phone, and IPad. Then a storm hit, the power went out and as batteries ran down, they were forced to interact as a group. Using old kerosene lamps, they found some parlor games like Monopoly and ended up having a great family time together for the next day and a half.

Maybe those people were connecting with other, more interesting people, via their communication devices.

As Christians we need to turn off the fights about “Merry X-Mas” at malls and Santa Claus and “Holiday” celebrations as opposed to Christmas celebrations and unplug ourselves from the collective cacophony of the modern Christmas season. As Helen Keller put it, “The only blind person at Christmastime is he who has not Christmas in his heart.” Let us each one determine to focus on the incarnation of Jesus, God made man to save humanity from itself as the reason for the season

This paragraph here is exactly what you’re not doing. Why on earth would you have a problem with people acknowledging your holiday in a more inclusive manner or wishing you well? Why do the words “Merry X-mas” or “holiday” hurt you, cause pain, or make Christmas harder for you? That’s like being hurt and pained because your mother said, “I love all of my children” instead of, “I love you best”.

Does the world really have to wish you well using the correct words for your satisfaction? Must we really ignore all other holidays at this time of year and focus only on yours for you to be satisfied? Go hide from the melting pot of Christmas if you must, but don’t chastise everyone else for participating. Honestly, I’d much rather Christians keep their holiday to themselves, instead of forcing everyone to participate. Forcing us to participate in the particular way you deem appropriate is even more asinine.

For Christmas, I’m going to go visit my family. We have an annual Christmas party at my mom and dad’s house, where everyone exchanges gifts (nothing too extravagant), eats food, sings karaoke, plays pool, and catches up with cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. My family celebrates Christmas in a secular way, and I’m not going to let that be cheapened by people like you who insist I’m doing it wrong. I love my family, and you should go love yours too and stop whining and feeling hurt when people outside of your own circle of mythology celebrate Christmas in their own way. It makes you look like a petty crybaby.

I pray that every devout Christian in this blessed land of ours will unplug for “Christmas” as a secular, consumer extravaganza and focus on the true meaning of the birth of the Savior-the guarantee that indeed ultimately “The wrong shall fail, the right prevail, with peach on earth, good will to men.”

Actually, please do. It would make me happy to have the ability to celebrate Christmas in my own way (or not at all) without being told repeatedly that I’m doing it wrong.


Reach Christina at Zizturiswrong {at} gmail [dotcom] or on Twitter @Ziztur

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