My Confusion-Free Christmas Plan

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Alright. I confess. I’m not worried at all about losing the term “Christmas.” I’m also not concerned by Xs in place of Christ. The X is a cross. That reminds me of Christ. Maybe it doesn’t remind others of Christ, but that’s their prerogative. Why should I need anyone’s participation in my decision to be Christ-centered on Christmas? If you’re a stickler for keeping religion in your festivities, great! But “Holy-day” celebrations are still pretty sacred, aren’t they? And even so, you don’t hear anyone going out to get a “holiday tree” or forgetting what day it is when we open all the presents.

 

That’s right: Christmas with a capital Christ. I think it’s here to stay. So instead of Christians getting all bent out of shape by the ACLU and freaky fringe types, I want to remember there are big cultural problems involved in the fight for Christmas as well–such as losing our cultural identity through neglect and plain ignorance. Sure, sweeping Christ under the rug at Christmas is a fairly time-honored tradition in this country. But our tendency to lump all the holidays together and wish people happiness in all of them may be less about avoiding Christ than a preference for efficiency and inclusiveness. That’s an American sort of thing to do, and frankly, I’m starting to wonder if some Christians really understand that at all. Do Christians really think Jesus is offended at people who don’t want to say his name? There’s solidarity with the past and our fellow man in wishing people “Happy Holidays.” And if I care about making sure someone remembers Christ on Christmas, I’ll invite them over for egg-nog and cookies. There’s no call for being antagonistic about Christmas. Honestly, it looks bad when Christians whine about the ACLU and validate their bigotry, only to wind up making ourselves out to be the bigots when we wish someone a Merry CHRIST-mas!

 

This “keep-the-Christ-in-Christmas” campaign got me thinking about signing off Christmas entirely. Wouldn’t it be more socially conscious to take a complete and total break from consumerism—government, media, business, technology, economy, taxonomy, whatever? No television, movies, computers, cell phones, iPhones, or video games. Farm-grown trees and basic Christmas dinner, homemade decorations and gifts. I imagine my brother and sister-in-law getting our girls Disney princesses and Polly Pockets as we smile and nod and hand over their crocheted scarves and homemade preserves wrapped in banana leaves…

 

But there’s another thing that’s here to stay: the great muddy melting pot. Americans are Americans because we’re a mish-mash of cultures and traditions. Does anyone else wonder why we wait for the stuffing to go bad before hunting down a tree farm that isn’t charging $95 to bring home poison oak and a family of wolf spiders? You do? Well, Merry Christmas, American!


These days, I think we’re all doing well just to remember Turkey-and-Football-Day when the retailers have convinced everyone on the block to start putting up their Christmas lights the day after Halloween. In America, our holiday traditions are alive and well. Right here is where the tradition started of using New Year’s to celebrate starting over right before the credit bill for Christmas comes. This year, I want to remember that the holidays (i.e. “holy-days”) are wonderful, messed-up, formerly-pagan-Catholic-redeemed celebrations-of-family-traditions as varied as the snowflakes. And even in a mish-mash, there’s a camaraderie if you’re willing to embrace it.

 

So “Merry Christmas, you ol’ Savings and Loan!” And this year, as we watch the Christmas Day parade floats, let’s do our best not to try to explain all our varied traditions and just enjoy the spectacle of pop singers, flowers, ostriches, surfers, menorahs, African tribal dancers, and babies dancing in top hats on the monstrous floats. It’s just an American thing.

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4 thoughts on “My Confusion-Free Christmas Plan”

  1. Mick, I always love coming here and reading your posts. It’s like getting to have coffee with you periodically and hear about what’s floating around in your brain.
    Your comments remind me of the over-reaction of the “Christian community” to the Da Vinci code (and likewise The Golden Compass). I love your comment about demonstrating our values by inviting someone over rather than shouting them on the street corner. Sort of like that good ole writing adage, “Show, don’t tell.” What does the Bible say? They will know we are Christians by our love . . .
    What is it that makes us so insecure about our faith?

  2. Hi, Mick,
    I’m with you.
    My daughters asked what I wanted for Christmas and I said the “Elvis in Hawaii” DVD and/or scented candles.
    But next year, I’m going to ask they donate to the ASPCA and/or missions in my name. I’ve had it, too. I see people decorate extravagantly and pay more to have Christmas lights hung on their eaves than they give to the poor and hungry. Us, for example!
    And I do want Christ in Christmas because people like George Washington filled a prayer journal with prayers to “our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” He wasn’t the only Founder who prayed in that name. Talk about an American holiday! It’s an American and universal Christian holy day and I like to see it honored as such.
    Merchants make a lot of $$$ on my holiday. They can call it what it is. Christmas.
    And Tina, since you mentioned it, what a time of year for “The Golden Compass.” The movie, from the many articles I’ve read, is evidently, watered-down bait for the author’s three emphatic books. The author claims to hate _The Chronicles of Narnia_, claims to be an atheist, and evidently, has an agenda, since in the third book, the children kill “God.” I think we do need to react strongly to that.
    Christians are the only group that is losing our First Amendment rights and respect for our beliefs, and we need to stand up for them, courteously and clearly.
    And on his traditional birthday, Jesus deserves to be remembered.
    Merry Christmas. : )

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