And so this is Christmas…

And so this is Christmas.

I know, I shamelessly stole that line from that misguided, secular, but optimistic John Lennon song. Not because it’s my favorite or because I even particularly like it all that much. If you must know, my favorites are The Little Drummer Boy, Mary Did You Know, Do You Hear What I Hear, and for just foot tapping, finger snapping simplicity, Feliz Navidad gets me going. But much like the former Beatle, I’m trying to make a point.

Many things to say about Christmas. For Christians this season is yet another occasion to celebrate the life of our Lord and Savior. Additionally, we use the season to attempt to bring more people to Christ. We don’t need a specific season to do either of those things as we do them all year long, but since this time of year where many do focus just a little on Christ (whether you believe in Him or not) we Christians like to strike while the iron is hot and redouble our efforts to attempt to save those who still need saving (I use the term “we” loosely as I’m a lousy disciple. I’m more concerned with my personal salvation and those close to me than anyone elses). In the process we give more money to support missions, collect food for the poor, perform work for those unable to do it, and comfort for those who need it. Again, we do this all year long as well. We’re a nice bunch, despite the movies, TV shows and books depicting the lot of us as intolerant, narrow minded, racist (only if you’re white), backward knuckle dragging superstitious, troglodytes and lunatics. There are those most certainly out there, but like all cross sections of society, it takes all kinds and those guys get all the press.

I’m not going to rant against the commercialization of the season as I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing. For one thing, being a shameless capitalist I don’t see a single thing wrong with people going out there and spreading their money around more than usual, stimulating the economy and creating more jobs. For whatever reason. Heck, some businesses NEED the Christmas season to balance out their entire year. Nothing wrong with that and shopping has little to do with Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

I’m also not going to rant against the policy of wishing people a “Happy Holidays” instead of Merry Christmas, because the simple fact of the matter is that the season also includes the Holy celebration of Hanukah, the made up season of Kwanzaa and the ridiculous season of Festivus (Seinfeld fans will get that). I will wish everyone a Merry Christmas, but if I don’t get it in return, I’m just not going to get my knickers in a wad about it. I won’t boycott businesses who won’t say Merry Christmas and I won’t let it diminish my joy with the season.

I won’t even rant against the militant attempts by atheists and agnostics who want to remove all Christian symbols such as nativity scenes from public view and forcing everyone to refer to secular symbols like Christmas trees as “Holiday Trees”. Kind of ironic since the word “Holiday” is derived from the words Holy Day. I think it’s a little ridiculous and hysterical that they assign so much power to something they profess to not believe. I’m sure they wouldn’t attack a big statue of Obi Wan Kenobe with as much vehemence. We all know he doesn’t exist, but he clearly doesn’t evoke the same vitriol as any image that may represent Christ in any way shape or form. Funny thing. I lived in Qatar for almost two years. It is a country governed for the most part by Sharia law, although they are regarded as a moderate Muslim country. During Christmas, images of Christ are prevalent throughout the season. There are displays of Nativity scenes and the words “Merry Christmas” are displayed prominently. I actually caroled in Qatar to a group of Christians, Jews and Muslims and the Muslims enjoyed it just as much (my solo performance of Feliz Navidad was talked about throughout the year, mostly because of volume rather than musical talent). Here’s something from Abu Dhabi this season:

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=CNG.937a29e74a6fa43f33a85ed42e22fb84.11&show_article=1

I know the tree began as a secular symbol, but they’re still calling it a CHRISTmas tree. I personally know atheists who are celebrating Christmas with those same symbols. And what does Christ have to do with a Christmas tree? The Menorah is a more specific symbol of a Holy day than the Christmas tree. Shouldn’t we be decorating a cross or a giant fish? The Christmas tree has little to do with Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

Some like to make the point that Christmas has little to do with Christ at all. The gift giving at Christmas was intended to commemorate the gifts brought to Him by the Three Wise Men as an infant, but the gift giving during Hanukah has nothing to do with that, so gift giving is not it. There are other Winter customs of gift giving that are not based on the Three Kings story as well. Gift giving has little to do with Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

December 25th as the historic date of Christ’s birth does not really exist. In Spanish countries January 6th is the celebrated date. Not of His birth but of the visit by the Three Kings. Puerto Rican children make out because they get gifts on both days. It’s one of those mysteries that of all the specifics that we know about Jesus’ life, we don’t really know the exact date of His birth. We know his family genealogy all the way to Adam and Eve. We can pinpoint the hundreds of thousand year old prophesies he fulfilled in His life and can verify His historic existence via other documentation besides the Bible. We just don’t know exactly what date He was born. We began our modern day calendar based on His life even though the term “Before Christ” or BC is no longer being used. Before Common Era or BCE is now the popular term. December 25th or January 6th have little to do with Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

The point is, none of that stuff is going to bother me this Christmas and here’s why. Jesus Christ of Nazareth is bigger than all of it. He is bigger than any plastic display of His birth or any pagan symbol added to celebrate His birth. He will not cease to exist because some people stamp their feet and have a meltdown at the mere mention of His name. Much like love, gravity, subatomic particles and other intangibles, He exists despite the inability to see or touch Him. The fact that some don’t believe in Him doesn’t change this one bit.

That people behave a little nicer during the season is a good thing. That they give gifts and get in touch with people they don’t speak with all year is a good thing. That we get to eat all kinds of goodies we may avoid all year is a good thing. That we’re just a little friendlier, kinder, happier, sappier, these are all good things. That intentionally or not, it is because of the birth of the Savior of the world is definitely a good thing.

So I’m gonna listen to Christmas music on the radio (in Spanish and English) whether the music is about His birth, or about a snowman, reindeer or a fat elf in a red and white suit. I’m gonna decorate my Christmas tree which I cut down myself. I’m gonna finally find some time to decorate the outside of my house before my neighbors come at me with torches and pitchforks (ya gotta see my street, it’s like the Griswold Family Christmas out there), I’m gonna make and drink some Coquito, eat Pasteles, Pernil and pie. I’m gonna figure out a way to cook that turkey-zilla a friend of mine slaughtered and gave me (the carcass takes up my entire freezer and it won’t fit in any conventional roasting pan).

Most of all, I’m gonna celebrate the gift of love and eternal life granted to me by the sacrifice of blood by Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the Lamb of God and the Light of the World. I’m gonna celebrate that it is only through His Grace that I am saved as I cannot earn it by acts or good intentions. I’m going to wish His blessings upon my friends, acquaintances and loved ones. I’m going to do this via the very simple words, Merry Christmas.

Oh, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: