Saturday, November 26, 2011

Keeping Christ in Christmas

*I’ll finish my thoughts on the Apostles Creed tomorrow. Tonight, I have something more important on my mind that I needed to get out there.*

‘Tis the season for one of my biggest pet-peeves. I really hate when people say to keep Christ in Christmas. Not only do they say that, they feel the need to emphasize their point by writing CHRISTmas. Really? Is that entirely necessary?

Now, before I have people jump down my throat (or start praying for my salvation) let me explain myself. I have no problem with people writing Xmas or Christmas. In fact, I do both. In reality, the x is not removing Christ, but denoting him in another way. X is the Greek letter chi, which early Christians used to signify Christ back in the day. By saying Merry Xmas, I am saying the same thing. However people don’t take the time to learn about the history of our church or the abbreviations that are used. Where do they think Xmas came from? It wasn’t an arbitrary decision to use x instead of Christ.

That is part of why I dislike this religious movement. The thing that really gets me going about this mentality is that people get so fired up about the way we write or say Christmas however they don’t even consider how absurd our celebration of the holiday is. We forget we are celebrating Christ’s birthday. Instead we have turned it into some hugely consumerist event where we spend way more than we should on stuff we will use a few times then set it on a shelf to collect dust.

The message of Christ has never been about amassing more stuff. Nowhere in the gospels does it say that the person who dies with the most crap wins. In fact, it says the opposite of that. When a rich man asked Jesus what he needed to do, other than keeping the commandments, to enter heaven Christ answered by telling him to sell ALL of his possessions and give the money to the poor. It is in this story that we have the verse, “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:24)

When we give people birthday presents we try to get them something they would want. If your friend is a vegetarian, are you going to give them a membership to ‘Meat Monthly’? I don’t think so. It seems to me that if we really thought of Christmas as Jesus’ birthday we would want to give him something that he would like.

There is movement that has been around for the last couple years that I really admire. It is called the Advent Conspiracy. The premise here is to not spend so much on useless presents, but to make meaningful gifts and give some of the money to the people who needed. It’s about letting your heart break for what breaks God’s heart. It’s about giving real presents that people will find meaning in, rather than giving something that they may or may not want. Here is a video explaining this all better than I am able to:

Consider what the video is saying.  What really matters; they way people write Christmas, or the way they think about the holiday?  Maybe it’s time for a wake up call and a redefining of how we think of Christmas.

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