Ah, Christmas!

I love Christmas.  I love the joyful preparations and town wide decorations, both tasteful and tacky.  I can’t help but smile at the Sponge Bob Santa, the Pooh Bear Santa, and all the goofy stuff that has nothing at all to do with Christ’s Mass but is still good fun.  I love the quiet anticipation of Advent that calls me into a deeper contemplation that is adorned with Festivals of Lessons and Carols, Children’s Pageants, bell choirs and the Youth Group in the church kitchen preparing inedible stuff for sale.  I even get sentimental over a few of the television rebroadcasts of old Christmas specials.  I especially love it this year, my first Christmas in retirement, which means that I can sit back and really enjoy it.  In fact, we are going to do the unheard of and go to New York to spend Christmas with one of our daughters and her family.

Of course the majority of Christmas preparations have nothing at all to do with Christ.  But in every TV show, amateur Nutcracker, Mall display and non-stop holiday music on radio there is always the theme of “The Real Meaning of Christmas” that generally has to do with the fulfillment of real love and generosity.  All of it reminds me of just how much people yearn for what only Christ can give, and though they may be looking in strange places, the truth is not far away.  Although Christmas is not nearly as theologically important as Easter, it is still Christmas that gives us the greatest opportunity to open doors, and open them wide, so that those who are searching may find their heart’s desire within the worship of our congregations.  But how will they know where to look if no one tells them.  Rather than opening up a war with the secular holiday, we should be taking advantage of every opportunity to listen, engage, share and invite with plenty of Ho-Ho-Ho. 

3 thoughts on “Ah, Christmas!”

  1. As you know, I used to be a \’hard-liner\’ on Advent. No Christmas songs until Christmas Eve, observance of Advent as a serious penitential season… and then I kind of realized that I was being a bit extreme. While I try to abstain from Christmas music, I\’m going to indulge in my favorite songs every once in a while this season. Hating \’secular\’ Christmas isn\’t worth it; it just diminishes the real joy that we Christians have on Christmas day. Secular Christmas seems to pay only lip service to values of love, generosity, reconciliation and peace, but people still hunger for those values. The church must proclaim and live those values all the year! December reminds many people of the values that are lost in the rest of the year, and they should be able to come to the church for a brief glimpse of God\’s grace. It might be all they get all year. On a different note, my parents said that they will be going to church at Christmas this year. I\’m quite excited; this will be the first time they\’ve gone to church without me since I was born. I only hope that the congregation will show them the love of Christ.

  2. Best wishes for your trip to New York to spend Xmas with one of your daughters; this is the first Xmas you have been free to do so. Merry Xmas from someone who is normally somewhat an Ebenezer Scrooge about the popular attending junk surrounding that holiday!

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