The Christmas season is upon us and the discord rises.
Is it a defiance of our faith to accept “Happy Holidays” greetings?
Has materialism and secularism diluted Christ out of Christmas?
Is Santa anti-Christian?
You control the answer to all these questions.
For me, the answer is there is time and place for each. I find nothing anti-Christian about Santa, shopping, gift exchanges or Christmas/Holiday parties. There is time on my calendar for all of these. Actually, I find shopping and gift exchanging shift my thoughts from what I want to what I can do to bring joy to others, a very Christian way of thinking. The bridge between is love. Love is the grounding of all means of celebrating Christmas.
I also ensure that Christ is the central focal point of the season for me. Church on Christmas Eve doesn’t suffice. Worship services all throughout the Advent season are essential and incontrovertible. My daily devotion time must include some component of the coming of Christ.
We can also get waylaid following the Christmas story. Is a wooden barn-like structure for my nativity scene appropriate? After all, Jesus was much more likely born in a cave or Jewish home. What about the innkeeper who plays a prominent role in most Christmas pageants? I can’t seem to find him in either Matthew’s or Luke’s Gospel account. Wise men in your crèche? They surely weren’t there at the birth. Yes, they came to celebrate Jesus’ birth, but it wasn’t for months, likely years, later.
So much to consider, too many opportunities for others to say, “You got it wrong.”
When you strip it all away, it comes down to Emmanuel – God with us.
One of my Advent traditions is to read the opening chapter of J. B. Phillips’ book New Testament Christianity which is entitled “The Angels Point of View.” It’s essence is an apocryphal telling of God’s coming to earth from the perspective of the angels who thereafter refer to earth as the Visited Planet. They are completely amazed at the prospect.
With respect to Joshua, as for me and my house, we will enjoy it all. We will celebrate the season in all its color and context.
Embracing the joys of the season,