In Canada many consider it taboo to talk too much about Christmas until after November 11th, Remembrance Day. Now that it is November 12 stores are more free to stock their shelves with Christmas paraphernalia and of course turn up the Christmas carols. Depending on your perspective you will soon be treated to or accosted by the likes of; Mary’s Boy Child, Hark The Herald Angels Sing, You’re A Mean One Mr Grinch, and Rudolf The Rednosed Reindeer.
Soon decorations will begin to make their way out of storage to brighten up homes, shops, and communities a like. We will see Santa’s snowmen, candy canes, baby Jesus surrounded excited and reverent onlookers, and signs in bright bold red letters as if screaming at all who see them, ‘Keep Christ In Christmas‘.
Yes as the season of love, joy, peace and togetherness gears up so too will the well worn arguments begin a new. We will hear about the offence people feel when they see a Christmas display on or near public property, and we will hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth when cashier wishes someone; ‘Happy Holiday’s’, we will see marches of people trying to remind all who see them that Jesus Is The Reason For The Season, while others will take to social media and say things like #SEASONOFREASON.
The Huffington Post threw up a picture today showing an ornament found at Target that basically sums up the Christmas Wars for the rest of us;
I find this holiday war more frustrating every year. I would love it if this year we could avoid the whole thing.I suspect we can’t avoid it but never the less I want to pass along a few points for my fellow Christians to consider;
1. Accept That Christmas Has Become A Cultural Institution– A lot of us really want to think of Christmas as ‘ours‘. That is it our holiday, celebrating the birth of Jesus our Lord and Saviour. Because of him we can have peace, joy, hope and love. Therefore no one should celebrate Christmas for any other reason. Maybe it should be that way, but it is not that way, and it won’t become that way. Christmas is celebrated by many people who do not think of Jesus as their saviour but still want to want to celebrate the concepts of, peace, joy hope, and love. Trying to tell them that their family traditions that mean the world to them don’t count is petty and mean on our part.
2.Other Holiday Are Celebrated In December – Some people in your community don’t celebrate Christian or secular Christmas. Instead they celebrate other holidays that mean a lot to them. Many of these holidays have been celebrated longer than Christmas and have a rich and important history. They shouldn’t be treated like they are recent invaders or unimportant Christmas knock-offs.
3.’Happy Holidays’ Is Store Policy– I was a cashier for about five years. It is my opinion that everyone should take on a job like this at least once. It is not a fun job, and a lot of people can be very, very rude. When the cashier wishes you a ‘Happy Holiday’ please remember that it is likely store policy. They cannot say something different without risking disciplinary action of some kind. When you push them to say Merry Christmas or chastise them for not saying Merry Christmas you don’t spread any merriment into their lives.
4. Consider Celebrating Advent– If you really want a more distinctly Christian Christmas consider following the liturgical calendar not the malls shopping schedule. Advent calendars are pretty much a staple in many homes. This year Meghan picked up a Lego Advent calendars for the kids. Advent has become a countdown to Christmas. But that isn’t what it really is. The first day of Advent (December 1st this year) is the start of the Christian New Year. Each day tells a story to heighten our expectation of a coming king, and saviour. We tend to miss the stories. Advent runs from December 1st to December 24th. The Christmas season runs from December 25th to January 6th. During Advent why not celebrate Advent. Consider lighting an Advent Wreath at home or decorating a Jesse Tree. Then trying highlighting something of Christmas from December 25th until January 6th.
Christmas is coming, in fact it is almost here. This year let’s try to share Christmas a little better with those around us. Tis the season to be jolly after all.