You will not read many rants on this blog but I do have an issue with a phenomenon that occurs every Christmas and it really bugs me. I do not understand the Christians who gripe about how "our" holiday is being ruined by commercialism, greed and division. Don't they see that they are ruining it by complaining and moaning about it all season?
I read a news article about some church people and atheists who are putting up dueling billboards to prove.....well, I don't know what they are trying to prove, it makes no sense! Do they think that some words on a big sign are going to change the way a nation thinks about Christmas? Or about Jesus?
The fictional character, the Grinch is about a creature who hates all the warm fuzzy feelings and spirit of giving that appear every December. Scrooge would get along really well with him. Unfortunately I am seeing and hearing a lot of church people who could be part of the same club! All they talk about is the greed and commercialism of Christmas. Don't they hear themselves? The subject is the opposite side of the issue but the mood and tone are exactly the same!
Maybe it is a 'glass half full or glass half empty' kind of thing. I see this time of year totally different.
I walk through stores and hear God being honored and praised in the overhead music being piped in for all to hear. Can you imagine any other time that the words, "Glory to God in the highest" would be resounding in your ear as you are reaching for the dish soap off the store shelf?
The malls are crazy-busy and the lines are long, but it is because everyone is hunting down a gift to give away. The desire to find the perfect item that will bring a smile to a friend can't be a bad thing, can it? We are spending hard-earned money to express our love for one another. Not only are we buying gifts to give away but the treasure is being wrapped in pretty paper and sparkly bow, so that it brings a smile even before the friend knows what is hidden inside!
What other time of year could you get away with walking from house to house singing songs about Jesus? I know that Christmas caroling does not happen much any more, but how crazy is that tradition? The recent uploads of flash mob musicals on YouTube are evidence that singing for other's enjoyment is still alive. Maybe these are the new version of caroling!
Houses and yards are full of bright lights and scenes of cheer. Just driving to a friend's house at night is a colorful and uplifting experience! So what if there are more Santa scenes than Jesus scenes! Both are delivering a message of love and generosity.
I love Jesus and I love Santa. I also have no problem distinguishing which one is real and which one is pretend. My Christmas includes both of them and seeing more Santas in store decorations does not make me angry or jealous that Jesus is not getting enough attention. I know He is the reason for the season but I don't need to walk around shouting it to the world.
This is a unique time of year when we as Christians have so much opportunity to love others and give of ourselves in so many ways. We can walk around humming songs that speak of angels and the Savior. Strangers aren't freaked out if we smile at them and say "Merry Christmas", blessing them as we go about our daily business.
What is the main question people ask one another at this time of year? "Are you going home for Christmas?". This holiday promotes family time and gathering with our loved ones. Christmas movies and stories are about forgiving one another and letting bygones be bygones. Hallmark movies make us all teary and mushy because they point us back to our families and healing old wounds.
There is something about this season that calls us up to a better, kinder, more loving standard. Why complain about commercialism when it is pointing people in the right direction ultimately? I plan on exploiting Christmas and enjoying every opportunity to smile big at strangers and totally ruining the dark moods of the Grinches!