I’m going out on a Christmas tree limb to finally say something that’s been on my mind for a few years. I’m well aware I’m not going to be able to put this out there without offending someone; probably everyone. Those who know me won’t be surprised by this.
RE: The War on Christmas
I heard about twenty seconds of a talk show on a local religious radio station. The hosts were talking about the vast array of tree ornaments in any given store. “Aisles and aisles” of ornaments, and the majority of them secular. Oh, my! Their voices were hushed and serious; the lady sounded as if she was on the edge of tears. It was a travesty; Snoopy, baseball, elves, Santa…shocking.
Thirty years ago the Christian community started pushing back against the rampant commercialism that consumes this season. “The Reason For the Season” buttons became popular. The years went by and the rhyme moved on to shirts, cards, and pens, stationary and—yes—tree ornaments. All lovingly manufactured, packaged and sold in your local religious book store. Next to the Bibles, inspirational books and, oh yes, nativity scenes
Part of the Christmas tradition is gift-giving; after all, didn’t the three Wise Men bring gifts for the baby Jesus? And they weren’t stingy. Rare spices and gold. They knew the art of gift-giving. So why do some religious people get all bent out of shape over commercialism during the holiday season, but spend hundreds of dollars, all year round, on bibles, tracts, CDs, DVDs, and every other conceivable item that could possibly be marketed to zealous believers
Oh, I’m sorry; you thought I had an answer? I don’t. Not even after having been one of those zealous believers for many years. Well, wait, I do have an answer…dare I say it…hypocrisy? Tell me the truth, why did Jesus take a whip and flog the money changers right out of the Temple courtyard? Because those men were putting a price on God’s redemption. He said “You’ve turned my father’s house into a den of thieves.” Strong words and kind of a scary scene from someone we’ve been taught was ‘meek and mild’, a gentle soul.
Fast forward to today’s popular preachers and speakers. They come as guest speakers at the church. But before they speak, they’ve set up tables at the back of the sanctuary with books and CDs and DVDs. And their sermons end with, “You can buy my book today; it will share the secrets of prosperity for God’s people.” Or something like that. Well, he certainly found his secret for prosperity.
So in the face of this rampant religious commercialism, which Christians’ own Savior condemned, we secular (evil) folk are undermining the Word and blaspheming the Savior by commercializing the commemoration of His birth. It’s a plot to turn the eyes and hearts of the world away from God by usurping his holy holiday. Really? (Hmm…Could it be Saataannn??)
I think we ought to be thanking Macy’s every Christmas season. They saw an opportunity and they seized it. (Carpe dinero).It was pure commercialism at its most honest and its most effectiveness. Effective how? Macy’s Christmas commercialism helped give birth to the idea that the Winter Solstice does not belong to Christians alone. There are too many holy days honoring too many deities/avatars/bodhisattvas in too many religions and philosophies for December 25th to belong to Jesus alone.
In buying special things for our loved ones, we are celebrating a tradition every bit as legitimate as that of the Christians, because we recognize that family and friends are valuable, vital influences in our lives. We are emulating the Magi; bringing gifts to honor One whom they recognized as one of those avatars.
The act of giving a gift has traditionally been of a humble nature. Giving weaves a greater bond of love, respect and humility between human beings than preaching to them about Hell and the War on Christmas. In today’s society, the sacrifice of cash in order to bring another person joy is the purest practice of commercialism. Commercialism has been an important force in protection against an all-out takeover of the month of December by the over-zealous believers.
Of course you won’t ever turn the conviction of the true believer. And I’m not sure I really, really want to…because it’s just so damned much fun watching the real zealots making asses of themselves.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a great holiday sale.