Christmas - Saved
Just not "saved" in the sense of "returning to the real meaning of Christmas," the birth of the God-child Jesus, star shining bright, wise men crossing deserts on camels, angels talking with lonely shepherds in the night. What I mean is saved in the sense of being saved from the religious notion that somehow Christmas has been stolen from them.
You see, I've been there. I've had these strong feelings that Christmas has been so commercialized that we have lost sight of the real meaning of the nativity, the Bible story about the birth of Jesus. I have been a member of a church, many of whose members bemoaned this same over-commercialization and corruption of Christmas. But I was weak as a Christian. I couldn't blind myself to the fact that ALL of the people in the church who had this complaint still celebrated Christmas in the commercial way, most very happily so! Me, well I knew that if I were to put my beliefs into practice and deprive myself and my family of a Christmas tree and brightly wrapped presents and cookies and eggnog and trips over to Birch Street to look at the lights on that guy's house and then on to the end of Maple Street and a few other streets in town and Santa Claus and Rudolph and the mad rush of wrapping all the presents on Christmas Eve (my wife's tradition) and Christmas songs and... well you know what I'm talking about. The story of the pregnant virgin and her much older husband being turned away at the inn but by God's fiat creating that spectacle at Bethlehem a couple thousand years ago was losing ground.
But a day or two ago I came to the realization that the story of Jesus' birth on the Winter Solstice is a fable in itself. The Bible never said Jesus was born on December 25 and there is no indication that all the events surrounding this birth all took place on that same day. In fact, the tradition of celebrating the birth of Jesus on or around the solstice seems to have derived from the adoption by the church of Rome of pagan celebrations in order to increase membership.
In other words the story of Christmas being about the virgin birth is just as bogus as the story of Santa and Rudolph.
So why sweat it? God in His Grace isn't sweating it. Complaints and resentment don't express the spirit of Christ. And really, none of us are upset by the commercialization the way Jesus was upset by the money changers in the temple. So why not just shut up about the religious significance and get on with enjoying Christmas?
Remind me that I wrote this if I ever slip back into thinking that the real meaning of Christmas has been lost.
Update: You have to read this...