I could write about politics again, but today I’ll write about Christmas. First, let me say that I generally don’t like to mix my faith with my holidays. True, that’s somewhat oxymoronic, seeing that “holiday” is morphed from “holy day,” and Christmas is, of course, “Christ’s mass.” I, of course, don’t mind that the story of Jesus’ birth is central to the holiday.
In spite of the various non-Christian traditions that have become part of the holiday and the materialistic obsessions that make it so attractive to the secular world, Christmas is unarguably, unavoidably, and essentially a Christian celebration. I tend to agree with John Gibson that there seems to be a “war on Christmas,” at least as to its Christian roots. It’s not the holiday, per se, it’s just that “men loved the darkness rather than the light.”
So, on one hand, I tend to be almost militant concerning the Christian essence of the Christmas holiday, in spite of my prior assertion that I don’t like to mix my faith with my holidays. I do not deny that I am at times a conflicted individual, as much as I try to be consistent about what I believe; however, I don’t think this is a conflict as much as it is a matter of scope.
On the broad scope, Christmas, along with Santa & the whole deal, is fundamentally about Jesus’ birth. “Happy Holidays,” to me, means Christmas & New Year’s Day. They’re the only 2 holidays I celebrate at this time of year.
However, on a more personal level, I see nothing spiritually significant about the day. I realize that he probably wasn’t born in December, and there’s no mention of snow anywhere in the Gospels that I can see. I do not feel any need to read the Christmas story (Linus does such a good job, I see no reason to attempt to top it) on Christmas day, or force my kids to do anything spiritual before opening gifts.
You see, Jesus is already an integral part of our lives. We can’t be any more “spiritual” on Christmas day than on Halloween (yeah, we trick or treat, too…). I appreciate the fact that Christianity is the reason Christmas is such a big deal, but it seems to me that to try to be more spiritual on Christmas would just be hypocritical. So, we don’t try to be.
Paul says in Romans 14:5, “One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.” So, I don’t fault those who find some special significance in Christmas, but I feel free to just enjoy all of the trappings of Christmas, as self-indulgent as they are.
This year, as most of us have realized by now, Christmas day is on Sunday, and a few churches such as Willowcreek have cancelled services so people can spend time with their families. This move has caused some debate, as you would expect (I’m not going to weigh in on this one – surprised?). Our church is having an abbreviated service, and I haven’t decided if I will go or not.
So, the true meaning of Christmas? Certainly, you can’t ignore its Christian foundation, but other than that, “Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.”