Maybe you’ve seen this pass-around-post on Facebook or in your e-mail. Maybe you’ve even participated by posting it:
Just so everyone knows, I have a CHRISTMAS TREE in my living room (not a holiday tree), my kids are getting CHRISTMAS PRESENTS (not holiday gifts) and we will eat CHRISTMAS DINNER (not a holiday meal), and I will attend a CHRISTMAS PARTY (not a holiday party). I will also very cheerfully wish you a MERRY CHRISTMAS! (not… happy holidays). By the way, if you want to have a Happy Hanukah , by all means do, I respect that. If you want to have a Blessed Kwanzaa, I also respect that. I want to have a Merry Christmas, so I ask YOU to respect that!
Okay, so here’s the thing. I have no issue if you post this. But I will not be posting it. The reason? I disagree. I have no issue with people saying “Happy Holidays”. It is the holidays. Every time I hear that phrase I think of the Irving Berlin song from the 1942 movie, Holiday Inn~ “while the merry bells keep ringing , happy holidays to you”. 1942?? That was before both of my parents were born! It was recorded almost 30 years before I was born. That’s an entire generation!
I have always felt like traditions are the things that happen the generation before us. If it was happening before I was born~ it’s a tradition. The whole “tradition” of Christmas music/songs is relatively new. Only since recording was invented have we had the ability to listen and sing a long to music year after year. Well, we all know that has NOTHING to do with the baby Jesus being born(unless there was a Divine iPod present in 4 B.C.).
Next we have this whole issue that we are somehow forgetting our “Christian” heritage if we say “Happy” instead of “Merry” or if we say “Holidays” instead of “Christmas”.
Well, folks, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Christmas is NOT in the Bible. In fact, there is no mention of celebrating the birth of Christ in the Bible whatsoever outside of that ONE night when He was born, the angels descended from Heaven to announce His birth to lowly shepherds and wise men traveled to meet the King of all Kings. And furthermore, Jesus wasn’t born on December 25!! I’m not going to go into all of the whys and hows we got here. You can Google and research Christmas, Christmas Trees, turkey dinner, presents, Santa and all the rest of it.
My point is this: Jesus didn’t come so that we could have a party in His honor. He didn’t come to the earth and leave all of His Heavenly Glory so that we could set up lights and a tree, have family time, presents, too much food and hot cocoa. Jesus didn’t come here because your little boy needs the coolest video game ever. He didn’t humble Himself so that you could stand in line at the mall and be angry that you didn’t get all of the wish-list items checked off.
Sadly, this is what “Christmas” now means to most of us.
Consider what “Christmas” means to you. What do you NEED to have to make it the “perfect” Christmas? Do you have a checklist like mine?
- Lots of decorating~ DECK THOSE HALLS
- A wreath on the front door
- Christmas lights on the house
- A Sunday School program where some little boy is terrorizing the girl in front of him
- After Eights
- Apple Cider
- Candles burning
- Time with my extended family
- Christmasy towels in the bathrooms
- Stockings hanging on the mantle
- “Silver Bells” playing on the stereo
- Christmas oranges(mandarins)
- Paper Snowflakes the kids made hanging on the window
- Shortbread cookies, Sugar cookies
Okay, I could go on….but you get the point.
What’s missing? Is there anything missing? If something is missing, would I miss it?
What about the Baby Jesus? Most of us have a Nativity set somewhere in our displays. Do we do that because it’s expected? And if we don’t set it up one year, would we still have a Merry Christmas?
I’m rethinking my whole approach to Christmas. I’ve always said it is a season not a day. But if I am going to be honest, Christmas has nothing to do with Jesus. Christmas is something that has morphed over time as a means of getting through long, cold , harsh Canadian winters. We light the fire and the candles because our parents did, and theirs before them. They had to, they didn’t have furnaces and electricity. But it sure is more cozy.
We say “happy holidays” because we are SO happy to HAVE a holiday! It’s the one time of the year when you can almost guarantee everyone makes a point of setting that time aside to be together. No matter how many times we try to plan Easter, summer or Thanksgiving gatherings, people have other plans…but Christmas? Well, everyone seems to make WAY more effort to be together then.
The kids are out of school. We have statutory paid days off(Thank God). There’s usually snow on the ground(not this year) where we live and so we ski/snowboard, skate, toboggan, skidoo TOGETHER. It is fun! There’s absolutely nothing wrong with it. Our decorations include evergreen boughs, figure skates, old sleds, plaid blankets, hot cocoa and snowy scenes! It is truly Canadian. It’s tradition. But it has nothing to do with Jesus. It has nothing to do with my salvation being born in a manger to hang on a cross.
Profanity is described as this: to treat (something sacred) with abuse, irreverence, or contempt : desecrate: to treat disrespectfully, irreverently, or outrageously
Oh how we have profaned the name of Christ. The irreverence that we show to Him by using His GIFT to us as a reason to go into debt, demand gifts from a phoney fat guy, stress ourselves over meals, parties and concerts and then strip all of the garb and decor away one day later in hopes of a “clean slate” for a new year. I am deeply disturbed at what I see around me and how we profess to defend our “faith” through the commercialized, selfish, give-me-more monster that this season has become. We would be better off to never buy another gift, never bake another cookie, never host another party if it would make us stop and consider WHO and WHAT we’re fighting for.
This “war on Christmas” is our own doing. I am not bothered by Holiday Trees any more than I should be bothered by Christmas Trees. My cards say Season’s Greetings, like so many have for decades. We are fighting for nothing. The last 150 years in no way should trump what happened 2000 years ago.
Listen, I have a tree. I’m wrapping a few gifts and I am baking. I love gathering with family, I love singing the songs that are traditional, scriptural and even the fun ones too. I’m not saying we scrap it all. I’m just saying we have to be cautious about what it is we’re celebrating and what are we fighting for.
I will say it again; if I took your Baby Jesus out of the Nativity would you still have a Merry Christmas?
I thought so.