Saturday, December 8, 2012

Life Without Christmas

For nearly two decades I wrote a monthly column called I Was Just Thinking. Every December I looked forward to penning my annual Christmas essay. The early themes focused on the joys of the season, family, friends, events wherein I could express my long standing love of Christmas. Writing about it was always just as much fun as being in the middle of it.

Over time, as I matured and the world started coming apart at the seams, the tone of my essays became somewhat more reflective, introspective and philosophical. My most recent was titled Life After Christmas – a more somber examination of the difficulties of keeping up with the demands society burdens us with during the “holidays”.

I had not thought about if or what I would compose this year until I ventured out one day into the shopping experience. I just needed a string of lights. What I saw, with surprisingly new eyes, while out in the fray, began to churn inside of me. I’ve been letting this ferment for a few days and now I am ready to write about it. I think. This one might be the hardest one, if not the last one.

Apparently Christmas has been hijacked and replaced with a sad, shallow replica. Now, I’m not blind, and, in spite of what some claim,  I have not been away on another planet for the past few years. I know that there’s been a huge outcry, every year, that Christmas is too crass and commercial. Stickers scream out from car bumpers “JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON” and “KEEP CHRIST IN CHRISTMAS”. The ongoing struggle to keep Christmas a religious holiday over a reason to bump the bottom lines of commerce, has been going on for many years. 

But this year, I think the dark side has finally won.

Strolling through the aisles of Christmas decorations in several different big box stores, I made note of the things missing rather than the things offered. Whereas the once specific Jesus themed items used to include nativity scenes, stars, and all the religious symbols attributed to the day assigned to celebrate Christ’s birth, these are few and far between. Lots of snowmen, santa hats, and sparkling LED lit winter type representations line the shelves.  Not so much on the Jesus stuff.

Again, this isn’t a new trend. It’s been coming for some time now. Who hasn’t noticed that Christmas comes earlier every year, now launched simultaneously along with Halloween and Thanksgiving in mid-September, so as to stimulate spending and maximize the most profits out of the last quarter of the year. That’s been around for awhile.

But something has definitely changed. We have turned a real corner. Regardless, and in spite of, the limp efforts to keep Jesus in the middle of the holidaaaazz, the fights to block nativity scenes in public places, to rename Christmas trees, and now, to remove them altogether because of their “religious” inferences, seems to have finally gotten the upper hand. Commercially made products reflect this politically correct attitude now. It isn’t a leap to consider that it won’t be much longer before the secularization of Christmas will finally be complete enough to rename it. Thus removing Christ from Christmas completely. Why not? Christ is just barely there anyway already.

What if Christmas was not? 

What would happen to the economy if suddenly everyone decided to skip Christmas? No more Black Friday after Thanksgiving, fist-fighting and behaving like neanderthals over TVs and video games? No more drunken office parties, no more anguishing over what to buy for Aunt Louise because she always returns everything anyway? No more hauling out decorations and spending days decking the halls? No more struggling to get the schedule for everyone to get together to eat and drink too much?

Aside from economic collapse, what would happen, really, if the atheists and antichrists managed to outlaw all the traditions of Christmas in the interest of keeping religion out of view and in its place, i.e., in the past? 

Well, if all the things, the doings and the trappings, the food and drink, music and gifting, colors and images that have always represented the event we have called Christmas for centuries should be banned one day, I believe those who call themselves Christians would still remember that December 25th is the day we honor the birth of our Savior. It doesn’t even matter if that is not really the day He was born. It’s the day we say, “Thank You, Lord, for the babe who came to save the world.” So, just like in the movie, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, we would still celebrate in our hearts, even without the stuff. The stuff is of the world anyway and He is not. 

And the world can never overcome that.

Merry Christmas, 

For Christ,

(Luke 2:9) And an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.  (2:10) And the angel said unto them, Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all the people:  (2:11) for there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.  (2:12) And this [is] the sign unto you: Ye shall find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, and lying in a manger.  (2:13) And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,  (2:14) Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men in whom he is well pleased.      

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