Tuesday, December 11, 2012

My Favorite Holiday

I love this time of year! We just got our first permanent snow fall here in Wisconsin where I live. By permanent I mean it’s here to stay until the spring thaw. This year the calendar has afforded us the greatest amount of days possible between Thanksgiving and Christmas…32! We’ve put up the Christmas tree in our house. It is still the same artificial tree my parents had when I was a kid. Over the doorway hangs a string of golden bells that belonged to my Grandmother.

We have a family tradition. The day we put up the tree we have cookies and eggnog with whipped cream served in special Christmas glasses. (These glasses have holly on the side and are only used at Christmas time.) As we are decorating the tree we have popular Christmas tunes playing in the background. And, with each ornament that is placed on the tree, my wife and I try to remember the story of where it came from and why we have it. I get half the details wrong and my wife spends most of the evening helping me get the stories right. We are coming to the place where our kids are remembering the details and help fill in the missing data. The only thing that’s missing from this Thomas Kincaid picture perfect moment is a horse drawn sleigh and caroling. That is happening this Sunday afternoon, so feel free to stop by and join us!

Even in this setting, I am losing Christmas as my favorite holiday. I personally enjoy it. But, man, is it a fight in our current society. Let me explain. Christmas is supposed to be the celebration of the birth of the savior…God’s gift to the world. Who celebrates that? In fact, most Christians elevate Santa Claus to the place of Jesus in Christmas. If you mention this to Christian folk watch out! For you will hear a parent say, “Don’t tell my kid there ain’t no Santa Claus!”

As for non-believers, they behave as non-believers do. They work hard to eradicate Jesus from Christmas. I expect that from them. So, even though they talk about “Peace on Earth” the first day of the Christmas season is called “Black Friday”. Radio stations will play 24 hours of Christmas music. The songs will be about Santa, Frosty and Rudolph. Occasionally, you will hear a song by a singer with a beautiful voice like Josh Groban singing, “If You Just Believe”. However, if you listen to the words, the song never says what to believe in…just believe. Of course, in between songs, there is the entertaining commercial trying to get people to buy something. To be sure, in our current society, Jesus is pushed out of Christmas.

Call me an oddball, but I still get amazed that God would take on flesh, limit himself and become man in order to rescue me from death. I still ponder the depth of love that exists that would move the great creator to become human in order to pay the penalty for sin… a price that I couldn't pay.

I am absolutely amazed (and not in a good way) to think that in the general public of the United States of America there is no desire to even contemplate such a notion. Then, I am completely ashamed that folks, who call themselves Christian, elevate the myth of a fat man in a red suit to the level of Jesus.

So now, my social holiday of choice is Thanksgiving. It is distinctly Christian. Instituted by President George Washington, Thanksgiving was our country’s first recognized national holiday. The President led the country in a time of prayer where he thanked God for His providence. So it seems that Thanksgiving is our only (socially recognized) Christian holiday… that is until our society can commercialize Thanksgiving and hijack it too!
I was going to end my ranting there, but I must say I want my Christian holiday back. I refuse to let Christmas become pagan. Therefore, I will do all I know and can to keep Christ as Christmas. I choose to worship the baby in a manger.