Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Holydays, Merry Xmas

It’s Christmas Eve. The presents are wrapped and everything is being put together for the Big Day. Time is left to reflect on the meaning of Christmas.
Not everyone sees it the same way. Some see the season only about families. Of course, Christmas is about families, just not entirely so. Others focus on the shopping, the presents, the fancy dinners, and spreading good will. And again, no Christmas is complete without sharing our love for each other and giving gifts to those we love. A nice meal is always enjoyed.
From a Christian perspective, there is the emphasis on the celebration of Jesus. Those who have a proper perspective on this Day remember that Christians received the best Christmas present they could ever get. We celebrate the Incarnation, the idea that God became man and dwelt among us. What more could a human being desire?
Some of you looked at the title of this blog and thought, “OK, here comes the sermon.” However, my perspective might be different than what you expect. My wife and I just did a photo shoot at a local church where we offered Christmas cards as part of their order. We had about 30 possible selections, with more than half of the samples using the greeting “Happy Holidays.” I can’t tell you how many said something to the effect, “I would never use that card. It’s sacrilegious.” Actually, the term comes from “Happy Holy Days.” I don’t have a problem with this idea because that’s what this time of the year is: Holy. We prepare ourselves to encounter the Son of God.
Another no-no in Christian circles is using in any way, shape, or form the abbreviation “Merry Xmas.” Some say it’s akin to “taking Christ out of Christmas.” Again, I disagree. The chi (x) is the first letter in Greek for “Christos,” or Christ. Like the icthus (the Greek word for fish, used by Christians to identify themselves as believers), I think Christians should take ownership of this word. And, of course, many Christians have demonized Santa Claus to become “Satan Claus.” Unfortunately, we who follow Christ are so well known for throwing the proverbial babies out with the bathwater, and I believe this is one more example that makes us appear to be an anal, repressed people. But Jesus said in John 10:10 He came to give us a full and abundant life, and I think that includes existing outside the monastery.
This Holyday is about Jesus, no doubt about it. He should be the center of everything a Christian is all about. But when it comes to Xmas, we should be able to include a number of traditions, such as the gathering of family, the nice meal, the present giving, the singing of carols, and the spreading joy to our friends and neighbors. Even the fantasy aspect of the Day, with Santa Claus possibly being in the mix, should be allowed as long as a perspective is kept.
Some of you may be offended, completely disagreeing with my take. That’s fine. I just think there’s so much about Christmas that we can celebrate, with no guilt needed for those of us who partake in the festivities. Let’s celebrate Jesus and worship the arrival of the King of Kings. Let’s love one another and spread some good cheer. Let’s just enjoy what God has given us. All in all, let’s have a very Happy Holyday we call Merry Christmas!



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