I CAN’T SHAKE THIS THOUGHT: Most of what we Christians do to celebrate Christmas isn’t Christian at all.
Not if we punch our work on a timecard. Or tally the cost on a spreadsheet.
Most of the time and money we put into Christmas is secular.
What started my head cranking on this was the reaction I got to a blog I posted last week: Christians, chill out about Christmas.
Here’s one that got my attention, from Algernon Asimov:
I think more people need to realize that there are actually two different events held on December 25th every year.
- One is “Christmas” or “Xmas,” the secular family occasion involving trees and carols and roast ham/turkey/chicken and presents and all that sentimental stuff. This occasion can be celebrated by Christians and Jews and Buddhists and Muslims and atheists alike, if they want.
- The other is “Christ’s Mass,” the religious occasion which solemnly marks the birth of Jesus Christ, involving prayer and mass and church and candles. This holy day is marked only by Christians.
The confusion arises because the names of these two totally unrelated events are so similar. I therefore suggest we rename the secular one, so that certain people will stop getting confused.
Maybe we should reclaim the old “Yuletide” label….So, I suggest these rallying cries:
- “Put the Yule back in Yuletide!”
- “Keep Christ out of Yuletide!”
Here’s the kick in the gut: For all practical purposes, I suspect that we Christians are already doing what Algernon is suggesting.
Yuletide: How much time are we putting into decorating the tree, hanging lights on the house, shopping for gifts, going to Christmas parties, and sending Christmas letters? As if that’s not indicting enough, how much money are we sinking into secular Christmas? Jeepers.
Christmas: How much time and money are we putting into Christian stuff? Let’s see. Go to the Christmas Eve worship service. Am I missing anything?
Last week my pastor suggested we consider spending as much money helping people in need as we help ourselves to gifts.
In other words, tally up the money we spend on gifts for family and friends. Then spend that much on people who could do with some food and clothes.
That makes a little more sense to me now than it did last week.