You don’t really celebrate Christmas.
Sure, the day known as December 25th, or “Christmas,” means a lot of things to a lot of people. Each of us processes it differently based on family, religion, and our exposure to the tsunami of holiday advertising.
But let’s be serious. You don’t really celebrate it. It doesn’t mean that much to you.
Because if it did, your life would look a lot different right now, and so would mine.
Done cleaning and baking and making everything just perfect for when you arrive, or when everyone else arrives for the BIG DAY?
Christmas isn’t about getting stuff done. It’s about celebrating what’s already been done for you. (<– tweet that)
This is symbolized by the receiving of gifts that you didn’t earned. They’re not called Christmas Salaries, after all.
Let’s be honest. We celebrate a lot of things on 12/25: Capitalism, Commercialism, Technology, Perfectionism, Good Behavior (or the Idea of It).
But Christmas? It’s just a word for a busy, stressful day.
And when we’re done, when all the presents have been revealed, when we exhale with great relief, what is it all for? It is in gratitude that we’ve survived another run through the Expectation Gauntlet.
Only 364 days ’til we do it all again.
The miracle of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is that the apathetic sinner Ebenezer Scrooge learns to keep Christmas well.
Once he has learned his painful lesson, with whom does he spend that glorious day? His family? His expectant relatives? His giddy, anxious, frothing-at-the-mouth children?
Scrooge briefly visits his nephew, but his main priority takes him out in the cold on a mission. His goal? To bring justice to the Cratchit family and many others in desperate need.
The Three Spirits of Christmas didn’t urge Scrooge to buy iPads for his relatives and spend the day taking pictures or opening packages.
It propelled him on the righteous quest to bring justice to the world, to poor families that he knew and poor families he did not know.
Say what you will about the poor and welfare and so on. But the definition of “justice” must extend beyond your opinions about rich and poor, employment, welfare, and politics.
Actually, I know of someone else who has a lot to say about that subject….
What About That Baby?
Call it fact or fiction, a baby is rumored to have been born to a virgin in Bethlehem roughly 2,000 years ago. This baby was supposed to become the savior of the world. Today, his name is worshiped by more than 2 billion Christians worldwide.
Christmas exists because of a man known as Christ, meaning “anointed” in Hebrew. So regardless of where you stand on his divinity, one cannot logically arrive at a “Christmas” without a “Christ.” So it’s worth noting the context of this notable birth.
Jesus was born in a feeding trough. Not a mansion, nor a government project. (<– tweet that)
As we sit with coffee cups in hand surrounded by crumpled wrapping paper, we should remember that the birth of Christ is not exclusively for the rich, nor is it only for the poor.
Rather, the symbolism of his humble birth should remind anyone who takes the story seriously that all of us are exposed to the elements of fate – anyone can go from rich to poor, poor to rich, at any time. And all of us, at some point, will go from alive to dead, just like that.
In the end, we’re all going to end up in a corner of the barn. The question is, do you believe that the god of the universe can empathize with that?
Being Right, Being Perfect
We are creatures built for input. Two ears. Two eyes. Two nostrils. We’re designed to absorb the world.
And we live in a noisy time, and that noise is probably telling you what to think. Many of these messages live to serve a higher master, a CEO or the invisible investors, a corporate mission or a growth statement.
Whether it’s FoxNews or MSNBC, Samsung or Apple, someone is whispering in your ear. Whether you love Obama or despise him, someone has helped you form that opinion.
And I’ve noticed this about opinions: They don’t give a damn about anyone else.
Are your opinions soft and tender, able to be swayed and adjusted with new knowledge and experiences? Are you questionable? Are you willing to be challenged?
Or are your opinions cognizant of the millions – the billions – of other human lives on this earth? Is it possible that, despite all of your efforts to be “right”, or to make Christmas “special” or “perfect,” that you’ve overlooked the needs and feelings of others?
Are you akin to Scrooge, judging the poor from your wealthy throne, unwilling to pursue them despite the cold?
Are you secure enough to admit it?
God Bless Us, Everyone
Christmas isn’t about saving or providing – it’s about being saved and provided for.
I can’t hide my perspective: I believe that Jesus Christ lived and died to save sinners. And I also believe that Christmas is worthless and meaningless unless those who claim to celebrate it take this seriously.
Why should I celebrate Yom Kippur when I don’t subscribe to its religious purpose? Do I fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan?
The reason why so many Americans celebrate December 25th is because it’s nearly impossible not to. It’s practically “un-American” to abstain from December the 25th.
But let’s be honest, call this what it is, and say that what we’re celebrating is simply a day of buying and giving lots of expensive shit to people we care for, not a true celebration of Christmas.
Apple won’t mind. Walmart won’t discriminate. We can call any day a “holiday” if we want to.
But it won’t be Christmas.
Not even close.
What do you think? Believe me: I am the foremost of failures in all of this. What about you? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Cover image by cack13.