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Friday, 18 December 2009

A thought for the Christmas Season

I subscribe to a site called FanStory, a website where authors of all levels of skill can air their works and get feedback from their peerrs on the quality and effectiveness of their writing. Every now and then one discovers something written by someone who is able to articulate something so effectively you wish it could reach a wider audience. Today I am posting just such a piece here in the hope that its message will reach others and perhaps even those who are responsible for the things mentioned in the article.

The last ever Christmas by Roberta Lee

"Happy Holidays," she said with a smile in her voice. I was on the phone and couldn't see her face, but I wondered if she knew what she was really saying.

"To which holiday are you referring?" I asked her. "I'm a Christian, so I am celebrating Christmas. Do you know about Christmas?"

Her voice tightened and she squeaked out, "We're not allowed to participate in religious discussions . It might be offensive."

"Well, since you are speaking to me, and I certainly won't be offended if you answer my question...will you? Answer my question I mean?"

"I am allowed to say I celebrate Christmas my own way. My children love Santa Claus. And of course the gifts."

"Hmm, do you and your children know what Christmas is? If you aren't a Christian, why do you celebrate Christmas? Why don't you move your gift giving to Hanukkah, or Ramadan, or some other winter celebration day"or better yet, just skip the gift giving altogether? Save your money. This is a very tight economy."

Another change of tone in her voice warned me that I had offended her sense of self as she replied, "We do live in America, and Americans celebrate Christmas."

"OK, fair enough I suppose,capitalism and all that, but Christians all over the world celebrate Christmas, are you aware of that? The holiday didn't originate in America. I hope you'll take some time to learn about, and teach your children about Christmas. It really is a Christian holiday. It means something to us other than Santa Clause, hustle and bustle, and seeing who gets what present."

Silence punctuated by heavy breathing and the beep of the recorder letting me know that indeed, "This call may be recorded for quality assurance purposes."

"I'll let you go, and thanks so very much for your help. And listen Eileen, (she told me her name at the beginning of our call) you have a wonderful Christmas, I hope it's not your last." She hung up.

I know, that wasn't really fair play. She sounded as if she were young, and most likely her children were very young, "Santa age." She had probably never seen a real Christmas pageant in her life...you know the kind with shepherds, and wise men, and Mary, Joseph, and most importantly the baby in the manger. I bet she never even wondered about the Nativity scenes that dot the shelves during the months from October until after the closeouts in January. She probably thought they were just another action set in old clothes.

My thoughts rumbled around inside my head and heart until they crashed into one another over my own parting, casually offered, smart-alecky remark. What if this was the last ever Christmas? What if the ACLU, our newly elected Muslim president, the nay-sayers and the ignorant succeeded in outlawing the Christmas Holy Day,the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. What if there was no more "Peace on Earth-Good Will Toward Men" allowed? No "Little Town of Bethlehem", no "O Holy Night", no "Silent Night, Holy Night" to soothe the spirit and ease thoughts of powdery snow and twinkling light gently into the dreams of every child? What if the raucous "Jingle Bells" and the nasal cacophony "Mama Got Run Over By a Reindeer" were the only songs resonating over the airways during the month of December.

Certainly the extravagance, the grandeur we Americans propitiate to during the Christmas season is a poor representation of the True Gift who came a babe, and clothed Himself in a garment of flesh; surrendering Himself for us a ransom. Regardless that our gifts are unable to compare in any way with His, yet we each yearn during that special season of the year to by some means, transcend the mortal and express the ethereal spirit most are unable to explain. There is nothing quotidian about Christmastime. We need to celebrate it. We need to celebrate Him.

I for one do not want to live in a world where the Christmas tree on the White House lawn means nothing, the star on top, an ornament--nothing more significant. Every foundational edict of my America is rooted in the Judeo-Christian ethic, an ethic that defines our humanity and provides us inspiration to respect one another regardless of race, creed, or yes--religion. Take away the ethic, take away the "Reason for the Season" we celebrate as Christmas and there is nothing remaining that is pure and noble, selfless or eternal. What does remain is the greedy, grasping, nose stuck in one's own navel, hedonistic, egocentric parody of life as it was meant to be...life as He meant it to be.

A spirit of rebellion wells up within me, so unlike the Spirit of the Son of God whom I celebrate. He convicts me of my anger as He reminds me that nothing can remove me from His hand. This sovereign Lord, this King of Kings cannot be debunked or legislated out of existence. "The fool says in his heart, 'there is no God.'" No matter that some bitter, wrathful soul, lost in their own ignorance believes that prayer can be removed from schools or "In God We Trust" removed from sight in America. The Spirit of Christ-mas past, present, and future cannot be recanted because He who has promised to "be with us always, even unto the end of time" is faithful. He cannot be eradicated because He existed before time ever began, and He will be Himself throughout eternity.

Some may choose to bastardize "Christmas", some may choose to adulterate the genuine greeting with a weak and vitiated "Happy Holiday" or "Seasons Greetings," but I will greet everyone with the heart of the season. I will celebrate THE BIRTH OF JESUS CHRIST, THE ONLY BEGOTTEN SON OF GOD, who came to take away the sin of the world...and I will wish everyone a glorious, a joyful, an everlastingly true Christmas.

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