Wise Words

"Wait on the Lord, be strong and of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart...wait on the Lord. Psalms 27:14


WWW As My World Turns

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Disenchanted Christmas

I wonder how many of you out there were disenchanted about Christmas this year. I was chatting with some of my friends online at Omega Letter and pretty much all of us were really disenchanted with Christmas this year. It was just not the same this year.

Most of us talked about how we enjoyed the giving of gifts but were less than enthused about the receiving of them and someone mentioned that maybe it was because Christmas has become so commercialized, especially this year. Another mentioned that maybe it is because we know that the gifts we give and receive aren’t permanent. They won’t last. I mentioned that in spite of what was going on in my life, I felt, well, hollow about the whole Christmas thing this year. Christmas just didn’t really ring true this year for me. For me, the very best part was watching Em open her gifts and her childish expressions of joy and excitement.

So many people are trying so hard to remove any association of Christ with Christmas. Without Christ, Christmas just becomes Mas – which in Espanol means more. It means nothing but greed and money and commercialization. More, more, more, gimme more!

Along with the greed, the removal of the birth of Jesus, the name of Christ and the true meaning of Christmas meant that a lot of schools this year didn’t have Christmas pageants b/c they couldn’t sing carols b/c most carols mention the Holy birth, baby Jesus and/or his mother Mary, the gift of God. One school in Wisconsin also changed the words to Silent Night, the most recorded song in history, but later recanted after they received such backlash across the country from it.

The original lyrics to the beloved carol are:
Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin, mother and child
Holy infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace, sleep in heavenly peace

The replacement lyrics were:
Cold in the night, no one in sight,
Winter winds whirl and bite,
How I wish I were happy and warm,
Safe with my family out of the storm.

Many schools also had no decorations up b/c they didn’t want to “offend” anyone (yeah, anyone except Christians). The same Wisconsin school had decorations for Santa Claus, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah Menorah displays and La Befana – an Italian Christmas witch who had turned her back on visiting the baby Jesus stating she was too busy, but no allowances were made for a manger or a Christmas tree. And forget calling it a Christmas break anymore. That has the word “Christ” in there and we can’t have the children remembering what is really celebrated at Christmas...or who. It’s a winter break.

How can little kids get truly excited about Christmas if there is nothing there in the schools that can be used to get them into the Christmas spirit? I remember when I was in school they had BIG Christmas trees, decorations of red and green rings in a paper chain, snowflake cutouts from the kids, a nativity set and more. Christmas was hyped up when I was in school. There was nothing shameful, wrong or offensive back then about celebrating Christmas in schools and all over as it’s meant to be celebrated.

Christmas items started appearing in many stores at the end of September/beginning of October already this year. What happened to everything rolling out at Thanksgiving time to give children and adults alike something to really look forward to? When it becomes so commercial and it’s all about the money, Christmas starts to lose its thrill and enchantment and excitement. It almost becomes just another day instead of the celebration that it’s supposed to be.

For a company who gets it right and deserves your patronage, check out the link below. They are from Hobby Lobby, Mardel and Hemispheres stores (owned by the same company). Hobby Lobby and its affiliated stores are owned and run by Christians. They run these ads in newspapers every Christmas since 1997 (a couple are repeats). Full page ads too so that nobody can miss them. They have a customer for life in me b/c they GET what Christmas is all about - and Easter which they have a whole different group of ads posted on their site.

1997-2004 Christmas and Easter ads
2005 Christmas ad Except in the newspapers the 2005 one was in black and white.

If everyone GOT IT like they GET IT, then Christmas wouldn't be so commercial and political and we just might be able to recapture some of the magic and mystery of Christmas once again. We could take our holiday back from the liberal secularists who want nothing to do with the meaning behind Christmas and who don’t want anyone else to celebrate, much less remember, the Higher meaning behind the celebration of the Christmas season. The birth of Jesus Christ, God coming to earth in human form to give us the hope and the gift of eternal life. To die so that we wouldn’t have to.

Regardless of what your personal belief is, the reality is that even though our bodies may die, our souls will live on forever in one of two places (there will be a lot of very surprised people on the day of their death to find this out). Because of the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus, we have the hope of life eternal in a place where there is no more greed, no more fear, no more tears, hurt, anger, bitterness or betrayal, where we can worship and fellowship with millions of people, where there is nothing but peace and love and rest – heaven. Without that gift and that hope, turning our back on it b/c of disbelief, intellectual and/or mental pride, or any other myriad reasons, we are doomed to an eternal life apart from God, where our sins, or hurts, our betrayals and all the things that have been done to us will be replayed in our minds forever. We are doomed to be weighted down by our sins and relive them eternally, gnashing our teeth in agony – Hell. I don’t know about you, but the first choice sounds pretty good to me and the only reason that we have that choice is because of the birth of Jesus, the real reason we celebrate Christmas in the first place.


Mike J. said...

I agree with you that this year was just different. I can't put my finger on it, but it just was.

You say down toward the end of your post, that "there will be a lot of very surprised people on the day of their death to find" that we have immortal souls and will spend eternity either one place or the other.

I disagree with you. I don't think anyone is going to be surprised at that. I think many will be surprised at WHICH place they spend eternity, but not that there IS an eternity. The Bible teaches that every one makes a choice at some point. God gives each person the chance to accept Him, whether its through actually hearing the gospel from someone's mouth, or God speaking to them in their hearts directly.

Most non-Christians don't want the yoke of religion around their necks, because they don't want to be told that their ways are wicked in the eyes of the Lord. They want to just live their lives as they see fit, and it comforts them to believe that there is no God and therefore no consequences.

But just about EVERYONE I know has at least had the thought: What if I'm wrong, and there is a God? At that point, each of us made a choice, to either explore the possibility of God more, or ignore it. Whether or not they've actually heard the gospel preached, they've heard God's voice.

I don't think anyone is going to be surprised there there is an eternity, because the fact of it is already written on our hearts.

IMHO, as always. ;-)

Lucy Stern said...

Christmas was different this year, but I did feel the Christmas spirit. I worked hard to get it. I wasn't going to let the "Politically Correct" take it away from me. There is always going to be commericalism in Christmas, so it is up to us to do what we know is right. I noticed more Nativity scenes in our neighborhood. I think many Christains are fighting back. I hope more and more people fight against the ACLU, which is at the lead in taking away Christmas. We have to stand up for what we believe or things will get worse. I said "Merry Christmas" to everyone this year and only said "Happy Hannauhak" to several friends who are Jewish. I avoided the words, "Happy Holidays" as much as possible.

Bill said...

I may have uttered the 'Happy Holidays' phrase.. but then again, I've been saying that for years becuse since childhood I've had friends of various faiths.

I remember when I was young, as in still in grade school a lot of us kids were on a 'Keep Christ in Christmas' mission, that stemmed from the common use of 'X-mas' back then.

It seems the more things change, the more they really are the same.

For me, the spirit is inside, not something that's created by the actions of others.

As for what Mike said: "What if I'm wrong, and there is a God?"

I think more folks actually wonder, what if I'm wrong, and there isn't a God?

I decided a long time ago, that if I believe, and I'm wrong, I'll never know... If I don't believe however, and I'm wrong, I'll know *forever*!!

Cindy said...

Amen to everything you stated.

Thank you for putting into words what I've thought and wanted to express - but didn't.

Merry (belated) Christmas to you and your family!

greatwhitebear said...

There are so many levels on which i could disagree, but I will just tell you that for my very secular family and me, this has been the best holiday season in a very long time. For the kids and grandkids, holidays have turned into a six week extravaganza. My ex's family and her bf's family rented a big hall on Thanksgiving and had a huge carry in. I cooked a very well received dinner the following Sunday. The ex- mom in law rented her church basement the Saturday before Christmas for their family gathering. Which left my boys to have christmas morning at home, and dinner with their better half's families.

I am having a New Years Eve, New Years Day, Christmas extravaganza this weekend, including NY Eve hockey and fireworks, Christmas Brunch, New Years Football, and Christmas dinner Saturday and Sunday. And since we decided to draw names this year, giting has been a lot less pressure. It has been a real family season this year. I am enjoying it more than any I have had in a very long time.

So here is hoping that all your holidays, whcihever and however you celebrate, are joyous family affairs. Because that is the holiday spirit we ALL should be able to agree on!

Michael Manning said...

How refreshing to hear from someone who apparently grew up in the same type of schools I did! I have never seen or heard that replacement verse. My Mother is Hobby Lobby's best customer! Wal-Mart I refuse. So much of the drain from we adults this year has come from the outside pressures and disappointments we all endure. My memories of Christmas had so little to do with money and more to do with the Magic of the season and colored lights and yes--a focus on the reason for the season. Yes, there will be some surprises for those who have not gotten their act together and I have deep disappointments in people who are just beyond reach when it comes to compassion. Hang in!

no_average_girl said...

how true a lot of that is - well, all of it! i had been noticing the trend of, "don't say anything about christmas because it might offend someone!" i haven't heard anyone say that about any other holiday.

and christmas did seem very commercialized this year! i noticed christmas stuff being put out beside the scary halloween decorations...for some reason, it didn't look right to see something so bright and cheerful next to something so dark, you know? maybe it is/was just me...

anyway, i've enjoyed your blog so far! can't wait to see more! :-)