December 12, 2005

Keeping the True Spirit of Christmas

Several "fundamentalist" orgainzations, including "fair and balanced if you're conservative" Fox News and a group led by Jerry Fallwell, are pushing retailers to use the word Christmas and to prevent local governments from prohibiting manger displays.

John Gibson, one of Fox News' hosts, even wrote a book titled "The War on Christmas". Boy, that group sure doesn't shy away from a war of any type, do they? Falwell's latest organization, "Friend or Foe Christmas Organization," is raising money to pay lawyers to save Christmas. Is it just me or does that sentence seem like an oxymoron? In this article. Falwell says, "There's been a concerted effort to steal Christmas, to deny little children their right to sing Silent Night and Joy to the World."

I'm not going to address this by taking the obvious routes of railing against the commercialization of the holiday or the separation of church and state. Something more, dare I say, fundamental, strikes me about all this hubub.

I reread the most detailed biblical description of the birth of Christ, in the second chapter of Luke. There was no ceremony regarding the birth of our Lord and Savior. He was essentially born in a barn, and angels led the wise men to him to worhsip privately.

That's one thing we so often forget about Jesus. He came into the world with no fanfare, and left it in the same way. We are not obligated to buy expensive gifts and decorate a large tree to celebrate his birth. We only need to acknowledge in our hearts how this was a critical part of God's plan of redemption for mankind.

When we go shopping, who cares if we are greeted with "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Hollidays?" If I want to go somewhere to see religious displays, I generally go to church, not a courthouse or city hall. We all need to be a lot more concerned about what is in people's hearts, not what fancy display they construct or what store they shop at.

Do you think Jesus really cares about all of this? If he did, he probably would have been born in a five-star hotel and not a barn.

1 comment:

  1. OMGosh, the secularization of Christmas, into "holiday". Like a preacher I saw on the news the other day reminded, it's a compound word made from Holy Day.

    I love Christmas! :) It's a wonderful time of year. Yes, there's lots of commercialism and stuff, but no one's trying to steal it. Maybe when people say "Happy Holidays" they're not trying to cheapen the season - maybe they're only trying to be respectful. There's no surrendering of Christmas in just trying to be inclusive of others who also celebrate Chanukka or Kwanzaa at this time of year.

    Maybe the only people who are trying to steal Christmas are the fundies who want it only done a certain way, for themselves, to keep everyone else out.

    The fact is, Jesus was not born on the 25th of December. Christ Mass was moved by the early church to coincide with already established pagan holidays, to form an alternative, since they knew they couldn't stop the celebrations of Yule and others.

    People get too uptight about it on both sides. Yes, the greenery has pagan roots - that's okay. I look at a brightly sparkling Christmas tree and I get happy, because of what it means to me.

    I had several ways I was going, but it may have turned out gibberish, just trying to touch on some of them. :)