Thursday, December 24, 2020

Christmas and Giftmas

This holiday season, I've been reflecting on the secular side of Christmas wrapped in the mythology of Santa Claus and the material parts of the holiday. Things I enjoy about the cultural celebration of Christmas include fun movies like Elf, The Christmas Story, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, among others. I appreciate the pretty Christmas lights and fun Christmas songs. Time with friends and family is largely positive if a bit hectic in going from event to event and navigating different relational elements. I also especially enjoy the cookies and delicious deserts. On the gift giving front, I can understand how it is fun for some though gifts are not a focus for me personally.

There's a part of me that thinks our society places heavier focus on these fun cultural aspects than the original Christmas story and God's gift to humanity. Rather than cultural elements being a fun addition to the central story of Jesus birth, they begin to shift focus and take center stage.  

A recent Christmas movie that I saw was built entirely around Santa Claus interacting with some kids in an action oriented story and appropriated and warped elements of the real Christmas story. While I don't mind fun fictional stories, to take from and remold elements of the historical account of Jesus birth into something completely different begins to border on sacrilege. As things move further along this path, Christmas becomes more and more secular to the point that for some it has no more meaning than bunnies, Halloween candy, and celebrating a made up holiday that would be better described as Giftmas. 

I don't begrudge people having fun with the holiday but would love for more focus to be placed on God sending His son into the world so that we could have relationship with Him. The fantastic Christmas Carol O Holy Night does a wonderful job of orienting us to this heart posture.

O Holy night! The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Savior's birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
'Til He appears and the soul felt its worth
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn
Fall on your knees; O hear the Angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born
O night, O Holy night, O night divine!

This Christmas I hope that you and your loved ones get to spend time reading and reflecting on the original Christmas story and thanking the One who loves us most for His incredible gift.

In pursuit of His best,

Andrew

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