Ol’ Square Piece got a little hot and bothered last week. One of my clients was relaying to me her difficulties in planning her department’s Christmas party when 1) it wasn’t allowed to be called a “Christmas” party and 2) she wasn’t allowed to use “Christmas” decorations.
Now that just sounds like an “It’s-Cold-Outside-But-I’m-Gonna-Dress-Up-And-Spend-More-Time-With-My-Coworkers Party.”
Home I went to clickity-clack away, blogging with indignation, so tired of the war on Christmas.
I’ve had enough! I thought. Stop trying to convince me to call “Christmas break” “winter break” instead. Do you hear how ridiculous “holiday tree” actually sounds in your attempt to avoid saying the word Christmas? What? Are you gonna decorate that “holiday tree” for Labor Day? For Valentine’s Day? Please. I’m not asking anyone to call a menorah a “Holiday candlestick” because it’s OBVIOUSLY more offensive to attempt to change someone’s holiday than to politely ignore it. Personally, I’d prefer to be politely ignored.
But then I got to sit on it for a few days. And I started to wonder…
Is this how the pagans felt when the Catholic church turned pagan festivals into a “Christian holiday”? Did it seem silly and offensive to the Romans when Christians took the sun god’s birthday and began celebrating the Son of God’s birthday instead… and not even on the correct day? Is this what the Scandinavians were thinking when Santa began leaving gifts under a tree instead of their gods, Odin or Woden?
Well, I can’t be sure how they felt or if it was nearly as infuriating to them as it is to me at times.
But I’ve decided to calm down about it.
Christmas is what I’ve made it to be. No other Christmas will do. The reality is, however, that Christmas is going to continue to evolve, just as it always has long before and after Christ was born. I wish that the world wasn’t so offended by Christmas as I know it, truly I do. But Christ is offensive and will always divide us… And I mean that in the best way possible.
Of course it’s offensive for a man to claim that He’s the Son of God. Of course it’s offensive for this same man to insist that He is the way, the truth and the life regarding eternity. Of course it’s offensive for that man to claim to have the power to forgive your sins and reconcile you to a sinless, holy God. People hate that kind of pious, judgmental, nosy, opinionated stuff… especially when it’s coming from the likes of me and you.
But when it comes from the likes of Jesus, the one who would not be subject to temptation, the one who had earned every right to be a goody-two-shoes snob but chose to dine with the riffraff, well, it starts to make a little more sense. And, frankly, I’m quite relieved that Jesus was so passionate about His mission here on earth. He’d hardly be worth mentioning if he was as worried about being politically correct as some politicians I’ve heard lately. Not only that, but I’d still be desperately calculating whether or not my good deeds have outweighed my bad instead of resting in the assurance of His undeserved, substitutionary death on the cross.
No, I don’t suppose we’ll always have Christmas. But we will always have the Gospel. And that’s worth a million Christmas trees every day.