By Joel Hess –
Alas it isn’t Christmas without a good ol’ skirmish between good and evil, like Michael casting down Satan, between some Christians and some businesses. So get your memes and vines ready for battle! It’s Christmas!
Dear reader please, I beg you, enlighten your historical consciousness! The battle over Christmas is not some new postmodern assault signaling the beginning of the end! 300 years ago our uptight Puritan friends actually banned Christmas because the very idea was more commercial to them than biblical. Until even 50 years ago, Christmas was not the 6 month orgy of red and green it is now.
100 years ago GK Chesterton noted the unusual practice by his contemporaries of celebrating Christmas without considering its source. He wrote, “The great majority of people will go on observing forms that cannot be explained; they will keep Christmas Day with Christmas gifts and Christmas benedictions; they will continue to do it; and someday suddenly wake up and discover why.”
Quite frankly, as someone smarter than me once said, “Our so called Christian culture has actually inoculated people against authentic Christianity!” I might suggest the national practice of Christmas rituals has done just that over the years. It’s harder to evangelize someone who knows the wrong things about Jesus than someone who knows nothing.
The first shot of 2015’s season of peace and joy has been flung by a few internet Martin Luthers, who accused Starbucks of removing Christmas symbols from their disposable Christmas coffee cups. They are just plain red; not the critics, the cups. When I first heard about this crisis I thought people were mad because Starbucks was promoting pinko communism. That would actually be cool.
Anywho, I looked up the ghost of Starbucks Christmas cups past and noticed that they were never decorated with nativity images or even cheesy angels. Instead they had snowflakes (offensive to those poor fools who don’t have snow on Christmas), reindeer, Christmas trees etc. You know, all things Jesus would have recognized as he celebrated his birthday every year growing up in Nazareth.
Like many Christians I am absolutely clueless concerning the godly strategies of my lower IQ Christian cousins! Who cares!?
To be sure there are plenty of nauseating examples of Big Business (capitalism is not the friend of Christianity) giving in to the politically correct movement and removing any sort of mention of Jesus in their advertisement. At best, it’s hilarious, at worst it’s another example of our growing wussiness as a nation unable to walk out our door without being oppressed by our neighbor.
Dear Christians, watch yourselves! Don’t worry about how Walmart celebrates Christmas. As you plan for your Christmas parties and send your Christmas cards, and buy a crap load of gifts you can’t afford but you would feel guilty if you didn’t, how have you crowded the wonderful celebration of Jesus birth with everything except the Christ child? Oh, I know you only buy Christian cards, and wrap your presents with angel wrapping paper, and annoyingly annunciate merry CHRISTmas when greeting your atheist neighbor, but just because you got the images and the words right doesn’t mean you got your heart right!
Despite our claim to put the CHRIST back in Christmas, many of us good Christians will be disappointed by Christmas. So and so couldn’t come to the family get together. The boss didn’t give me a bonus so I had to get my kid a kindle instead of an iPad. No snow on December 25!? Others will be disappointed far more as they stare at the empty chair where their loved one once sat.
Today start putting Christ back in Christmas by reading the words of the Savior at home with the kids, attend your church’s advent services whether they have a cool nativity scene out front or not, enjoy the Lord’s Supper as if it is the greatest Christmas feast and family gathering you ever did see – which it is. In other words, place your hopes and dreams for a wonderful Christmas upon the Christ child who never disappoints.
Don’t worry about Starbucks, Target, or President Obama. Take heart in the Savior. He is doing quite well, despite what you hear on T.V.