MY DEFENSE of CHRISTMAS
"Hey, Mom, Dad, Sis--Look at those people on our lawn with
picket signs! They want us to stop celebrating Christmas!
Are they for real or what?"
Christmas: Is it just a word or is it something deeper?
By AUDREY YEAGER
Old age, (shudder, shudder) has at least one thing going for it this time of year: You have a huge stockpile of Christmases to remember every evening just before falling into a short nap in your recliner.
As it stands now, I have much clearer memories of those 30 years ago than I do the one last December.
As time rolls on, my recollections seem to move further back with each year. If it keeps going this way, one of these winters I will experience vivid scenes from my very first Christmas, at age five months, while forgetting to put the lights on the tree THIS year.
It just goes that way in life and the longer we are allowed to live, the more there is to forget about yesterday and to recall about the far past. There is that wonderful thing that happens to us oldsters. We are given the gift of remembering incidents that happened many decades ago. My mom can still sing songs she learned in the first grade and she was just 93 this past week!
To get a bit serious, there are some slow moving, yet relentless machines at work to plow under some of our oldest traditions. The trappings and scenes of Christmas, and some peoples attitudes have changed from the times of my youth. I hate to have to say it, but, they havent added anything positive that I can see.
The greatest thing about this special day of December 25th is that it doesnt matter what we humans do or dont do about it; it will go right on being celebrated as the birth of the Savior in the hearts of millions.
There is an astonishing phenomenon working its way through the country right now--a movement we couldnt have imagined only a few short years ago. There are those who would be much more contented if the whole Christmas thing would go away. It seems to worry them a great deal, particularly the spiritual aspects of the season. Even the decorated tree has become foreboding enough to cause some to change its name to something less threatening than The Christmas Tree.
I have heard it said that the more fanatical people are, the more ridiculous they become. Maybe so. As far as that goes, there are those who would call me a fanatic, I suppose, because I am a Christian. My Christianity is not merely a byproduct of being born in America and it isnt a religion; it is a relationship with Christ.
Not to get excited, please; my soap box is nowhere in sight. I am not a Bible thumper. But how I DO cringe to hear unbelievers explain what goes on in MY heart and mind as a Christian. When they attempt to do so, it is so obvious they havent a clue as to who we are. And, hey! I dont expect them to.
After some research of the different movements afoot that would squash all references to Christmas, it almost seems silly. But, of course it isnt.
Perhaps the traditions could be made to disappear from the American scene over time, but I dont believe it would have much spiritual impact. They might do away with the nativity scenes, rename the town-square trees, change the words to Silent Night--as one school already has--not allow Christmas songs at the school pageants, let the retailers tell their sales personnel not to greet customers with the apparently dangerous statement of Merry Christmas. And it wouldnt matter one iota to the faith that can move mountains.
It isnt often that I splash around in the political pond, and actually dont feel that I am getting my feet wet right now. But you know what? I just had to say something about the attacks on Christmas
No one knows the date of Christs birth. The 25th of December is just the day that was decided on to celebrate what was a wondrous day for believers. But it isnt necessary for our faith. Neither are Silent Night or the stable with the baby in the hay. We can get along nicely without OTannenbaum, the school programs with no reference to Christmas, the carolers, and all the rest. Our faith and worship is based on something immovable and unchangeable.
Still, how perilous can it be to be wished a Merry Christmas?
I hope I havent come across as strident. That is the exact opposite of what I want to do. It is very important to me to find some common ground between us all.
So, Merry Christmas!
And, by the way, if someone should want to wish me a happy Hanukah or give me another religious greeting, I would certainly not be offended, but accept the blessing gladly.
Note: To give credit where credit is due; many of those retailers who started out the season leaving Traditional Christmas behind have done an about face for which we thank them.
©2005 by Audrey Yeager. The illustration is from IMSI's Master Clips Collection, 1895 Francisco Blvd. E., San Rafael, CA, 94901-5506, USA. This column first posted Dec. 19, 2005.
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