Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The continuing saga of the Christmas that's not quite happening

Philippians 2:9-11 "For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

So Riley got sick in the middle of the night last night. Luckily he wasn't quite as sick as I was, or at least he fared better, but non-the-less he's quite sick. So he called his office and cancelled the big Christmas party that was scheduled to be at our house on Thursday. I feel really bad about it, but I understand. We simply do not have the energy to put that on. About 40 to 50 people were fixed to come, and we already have the turkey Riley was going to barbecue. It'll keep.

This has truly been a very peculiar Christmas. The business establishments aren't permitted to say or write the word Christmas. But oddly enough they can write the word Hanukkah. I was at a very liberal grocery store the other day and they had a list of upcoming events, which included "Holiday" events and "Hanukkah" events and "Winter Solstice" events. The stores aren't even decorated the way the used to be. I was standing in Fred Meyer's the other day waiting for my family. As I looked around me I could see nothing that would indicated that it was Christmas. And often, if there are decorations, they are in strange colors that don't really evoke the idea of Christmas. Now I realize that store decorations are all about making money and not really about Christmas, but in the past the store clerks used to say "Merry Christmas" and they seemed to mean it.

But on the brighter side of all this - it seems that Christmas might be on it's was back to just being a Christian event. Portland is a city where only just over 20 percent of the people ever attend church. What does Christmas really mean to the other almost 80 percent? Really! It must seem quite confusing to them. Why all this fuss and bother? Why do we have to give presents to everyone? They would never understand about Jesus being God's incredible gift to us, and at best they might think of the magi bringing presents to Jesus, but then Jesus is only a myth to them anyway. It's business that keep the "holiday" really going. They want our money. Now don't get me wrong, I like giving and getting presents. Who doesn't? But I see no need to make those people who don't even have a clue what Christmas is all about join in in the festivities. As a Christian I am glad that we can have really festive events to celebrate the birth of Jesus. I'm glad to carry on old Christmas traditions. But perhaps I should actually examine some of them to see if they should continue. For example "Christmas stockings" - what is that all about? I can understand decking the halls with boughs of holly and all that, it's part of the festivities. And the tree seems to me to represent the night sky where the angels sang to the shepherds. And having many good things to eat is a very proper thing to do when celebrating a great event. And wreaths are the symbol used by Christians to let others know that this is a house of Christians. Now the lights all over the house are just a modern fun way to be in a very festive mood. I love seeing all the lights, and I know that Jesus is the Light of the world.

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