In my adult years, I had begun to hate Christmas; that is, the idea of what Christmas had become: the commercial part of it and the way that people sometimes act during this holiday. For example, it has been very dangerous to drive this weekend, more so than usual in LA and more so than on most holidays, even the long Thanksgiving weekend.
When I went out yesterday morning, there were two abandoned, smashed-up cars on the street three blocks over. This morning, as I made my way to church, I noticed at least three intersections that still were littered with the evidence of serious car accidents: large pieces of metal, fiberglass and tiny bits of glass. For all too many, the celebration of the birth of Christ has reverted to the pagan bacchanalia which it was intended to replace all those centuries ago. This day isn’t supposed to be about endangering the lives of others via wanton drunkenness while operating large and deadly pieces of machinery, but that’s what it has become.
But the funny thing about the recent controversies involving the use of the phrase “Merry Christmas” and the singing/playing of religious Christmas carols in government, educational and corporate life is that they have served to remind those of us who accept Jesus Christ as the Messiah of what this day should mean to us. Yes, most bible scholars agree that the historical Jesus of Nazareth probably was not born on December 25th, but that’s a trivial matter. (Personally, I find Easter far more meaningful than Christmas, because it is the day celebrating the most crucial point of why Christ was born, but that’s my preference.) What shouldn’t be a trivial matter for Christians is the ‘Christ’ part of Christmas, should they choose to honor this day.
Oh, I’m not bashing the giving of gifts or even the partying. I simply think that one’s priorities should be taken into account.
If your priority is to celebrate the birth of the Savior of Mankind, then put that first. However, if it is to merely take advantage of the holiday for your own selfish purposes, then don’t act as if you really believe in the sacrifice and resurrection of Christ.
For this attitude, I am considered a type of Ebenezer Scrooge. It’s probably an accurate assessment: I’m most relieved on each January 2nd to have the season over with and have myself and all of my loved ones still intact. Let it be so for me and for you at the end of this “Christmas/Holiday Season” and all of those that come after.