20 Dec In Defense of Christmas
Things sure have changed. When I was a kid, Christmas was the one time of year that I got to see all my cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. It was the one time of year when even the mean kids in school were almost nice. It was a time when everyone said “Merry Christmas” and smiled at strangers. Salvation Army bell-ringers weren’t treated like an annoyance, and you weren’t afraid that you were offending someone when you genuinely just wanted to share a benevolent wish for the season.
Don’t get me wrong. I believe in being considerate. I believe that people shouldn’t be ignorant of the diverse people and cultures represented around them. However, I’m afraid that political correctness has everyone (or at least considerate people) walking on eggshells more than freely enjoying the freedoms that we are guaranteed by our God-given “inalienable rights.” Now, just to wish someone a joyous season, we engage in racial or religious profiling, making our best uneducated guess as to which holiday the recipient of our hopeful wish will graciously endorse. So, we make a general statement, as bland as we can make it, or we combine words to include everything that our fellow humans might be celebrating. Happy RamaQuanzChristmakah!
To make matters worse, this year I did some research on the origins of Christmas. I was alarmed to find that Google’s highest rated sites on the subject were all negative. These are some of the things that I read: One site said that Christmas was really worshiping the Roman god Saturn. Another said that putting up a Christmas tree was truly committing Druidic idolatry to Nimrod, the guy who built the Tower of Babel. Still another claimed that Christmas was a time of excessive debauchery and sexual immorality in Pagan tradition. One that really got my attention said that celebrating the birth of Jesus (or any birthday for that matter) was an abomination to God and terrible things would happen for such rebellion. I read of horrible atrocities done to Jewish people on Christmases through the ages by So-called Christians, and that to teach children to celebrate Christmas, no matter how tamed or joyous was comparable to wishing someone a “Happy Hitlerday.”
Now I’ve learned to bite my tongue and endure criticism, but I feel strongly that there ought to be something available on the World Wide Web to clarify what Christians really celebrate at Christmas; at least those of us that aren’t selfish, debauched, Saturn-worshipping, tree hugging, anti-Semites. This Christmas as followers of Jesus (Yeshua, His Hebrew name) gather with our families, there will be no songs to Saturn. We will sing of the Silent Night that was interrupted by the sounds of Herald Angels announcing their First Noel, While Shepherds watched their flocks by night. They proclaimed Joy To The World, goodwill to all men, and “Gloria In Excelsis Deo”, Glory to God in the Highest. For “Unto Us” is born in the Little Town of Bethlehem, One who is called Immanuel, which means “God with us.” We will give gifts to one another, all the while knowing that it is really all of us that have been blessed with a gift that we could never deserve. The gift of salvation and forgiveness has come to us. This season reminds us that we are not alone, that God is with us. This gift sparks in our hearts feelings of generosity and compassion toward others. Homeless people will be fed, drug addicts will be given help, and orphans will receive gifts from loving people, who are not their parents. Soldiers overseas will receive notes and cards from those who pray for them at home. Christians will fill churches this year and pray for peace on Earth. We won’t be drunk and disorderly this year, or reveling in latent immorality. We will be convicted to try and live each day as we do on Christmas, and we will challenge each other to live as Jesus would have us live throughout the next year. This season makes us reflect on our lives. It makes us show kindness to one another. It makes us want to be better people. But mostly, it makes us grateful to have received the undeserved Grace of Almighty God. If all of these elements and sentiments come together, they result in a very Merry Christmas.
I hope that doesn’t offend you.