I say let’s throw in the towel and let Christmas go as a Christian holiday. We lost. It is a totally secular buying frenzy. It puts so many people at financial risk as they attempt to fulfill the ever-escalating expectations of gift giving that I would prefer to not associate the name of Christ with such an event.
I don’t mean we should stop celebrating what is special and beautiful about Christmas with our faith communities or our families. At The Refuge, for example, we will once again have a simple and lovely candlelight service.
I love Christmas. But I cringe at the “Keep Christ in Christmas” movement. Why? I would prefer that we separate the miracle of God coming as a baby from the frenzy of Black Friday. The two have absolutely nothing in common. I would love for the broader culture to call it “winter gift giving” or “Happy Holidays,” even, than to drag Jesus into the mess of consumerism.
I think what this taps into for me is the constant fighting for more power. Maybe I am missing something, but why should I care if someone wishes to say “happy holidays” instead of “merry Christmas”? Will forcing them to say “merry Christmas” in any way help them connect to the Christian faith? Why should my faith have more say or power than someone else’s? In fact, I think we have less chance of inviting someone to Christ when we rise up in power imposing what we believe to be right.
This controversy seems to be a subplot in a bigger story about the American heritage. I am sure that many of the principles of our government were birthed from the convictions of Christian men. I understand this is a touchy subject, but the notion that we need to return to our Christian heritage seems hard for me to grasp. What is a “Christian nation”? Christianity is best spread through a spirit of humility and generosity, not through one that demands its own way.
Here is my proposal: trade Christmas for Easter. We spend no effort on attempting to redeem Christmas from the market-driven enterprise it has become. Instead, we focus all our attention on the critical moment of our faith, the resurrection of Christ. Baby Jesus is sweet, but the resurrected Christ will rock your world. If we saved our voice, what credibility might we still have to make Easter the most influential and meaningful holiday of the year?
I will decorate my tree, give my family presents and meditate on the birth of Jesus, but in my heart I am dreaming about Easter.