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Merry Christmas Everyone

December 23, 2014

One of the things I love about Christmas IS that it has become a secular holiday. For those of us who accept Jesus, Christmas is a holy day, but it is also a FUN day. Over the years a fat guy in red has been added, trees with lights and memories have popped up and gingerbread has somehow been associated with the Birth of Christ.

Why not? Could it be more perfect? Just as God is for everyone, Christmas is for everyone. Atheists, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, all are welcome to celebrate Christmas, even if your Christmas doesn’t include Christ.

God shares his grace and bounty with everyone, no matter their beliefs. He brings joy in good times and hope in bad times. He doesn’t demand credit from those who don’t want to give it – if it’s withheld, he doesn’t withhold grace.

Christmas, the celebration, not the event, was co-opted from several pagan holidays, Solstice for one, and a few struggle with this. Not sure why. That’s what God does. He comes into our lives, rips out some stuff, adds a lot and strengthens or shapes what’s already there.

There are holidays I really don’t care for. Valentine’s Day for one, which is made up from whole-cloth to force us to “show our love” to our loved ones (okay, I actually love my family’s traditions around V-Day, which is food-based, like most of our traditions).  It’s the old saw about why there isn’t a Kid’s Day to go alone with Mother’s and Father’s Day (because every day is Kid’s Day); we should be showing our love to our loved ones every day without enriching Hallmark.

But Christmas isn’t like that. Christmas is ambiance. It’s practically the purpose of winter. The perfect way to end a year is to celebrate – as God has done with his people since the burning bush. Valentine’s Day is always about THIS V-Day. Christmas is about every Christmas you’ve ever known. It’s family and tradition, even the ones you miss, like our huge family gathering that we can’t attend because we live 3000 miles away. But I know what they’re doing. I know what many of the decorations are. Even though I’m not there, I feel a part of it, because I have been there.

Christmas is continuity – for some of us, a recognition that God will always be there as he always has been. It’s about connectedness – that even far away, family is together. For others it’s a sense of the holy, even if it isn’t recognized. Ask about Christmas memories and you can talk for hours. Ask about May or April memories and people will look at you confused.

My memories aren’t much about the baby in the manger, and that’s okay, because what it is about is all from Jesus’ hands. Family, tradition, joy, celebration. God makes those for all of us.

So Merry Christmas Everyone!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. kverdeck permalink
    December 24, 2014 8:07 am

    “Valentine’s Day is always about THIS V-Day. Christmas is about every Christmas you’ve ever known.”
    Now that, sir, is a brilliant statement, one of those that seems so obvious once articulated. I think that really goes to the heart of why Christmas is so special and important to so many.

    I’m agnostic, as you know, but not one of those types who can’t stand the trappings of anything religious. So please allow me to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas. 🙂

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