Sunday, 11 December 2011
By Andy at Faith and Geekery
Advent is upon us and many people are busy preparing for Christmas in some way or another. Many sermons and devotionals this Advent season will probably talk about focusing on Jesus and not getting caught up in the busyness of life and the stress of present-buying and family-hosting.
This is a worthwhile reminder, but not if our attitude doesn’t change from anxious and overwhelmed to joyful and filled with awe at the reality that is Christmas.
Some people have grown to hate Christmas because they see it as materialistic and secularized. I’ve already seen dozens of pointed comments about “Merry Christmas” versus “Happy Holidays” and other related topics.
I understand those concerns and I sympathize with that plight, but my Christmas spirit will not be brought down by materialism, secularization, or Facebook updates bewailing the use of “Happy Holidays.”
I love Christmas and I will continue to light up with joy at the thought that Jesus came to earth as an infant. And I will smile when people wish me Happy Holidays because all that the word “holiday” truly means is “holy day” and if Christmas isn’t a holy day, well then what day is?
If you want people to understand the true meaning of Christmas, don’t bemoan what Christmas has become to so many; instead, rejoice in what Christmas is!
Christmas is awesome. It is a time for singing, gift-giving, gift-receiving, family, friends, music making, the Christmas story as told by Luke or Matthew, egg nog, Christmas trees, lights, tinsel, and my favorite Christmas tradition of all: Christmas movies.
When I lived in the United States, I had a more systematic approach to which movies to watch and when leading up to Christmas. I generally started with Planes, Trains and Automobiles since it’s more of a Thanksgiving/general winter movie. I also had Grumpy Old Men early in the rotation for the same reason.
When Christmas was two weeks away, I just gave up on the system and watched whatever I could. While every family has their own selection of classics, my family was big on the following…in no particular order: Elf, A Christmas Story, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Home Alone (1, 2, and 3, but not 4 — it’s not good). If we’re feeling sappy, It’s a Wonderful Life and White Christmas, but they don’t necessarily make the cut every year. And generally our family gathering movie was the claymation Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer. My wife and I also tend to find the days following Christmas to be a good time for a Lord of the Rings marathon. Feel free to cry “blasphemy!” at any omissions. Like I said, that’s just my family.
If you are the type of person who hates what Christmas has become, perhaps you also dislike the movies I mentioned. Perhaps you think them wishy-washy and full of secularized “it’s all about me being nice” nonsense.
Allow me to help brighten your Christmas season this year. Over the next few weeks, as we approach Christmas, I’d like to share the joy I find in Christmas movies — the connections I see to Jesus in these movies that are seemingly unconnected to faith. So please stay tuned for those.
Why? I guess in the end I just can’t stand the thought of people who understand Christmas being less happy about Christmas than those who really don’t get that it’s about Jesus and God’s awesomeness. If you know the true meaning of Christmas, rejoicing is the only natural response. Think about the angels who tell the shepherds. A multitude of them break into song because they are overcome with joy at Christ’s entering our world in the form of a child.
If you want others to know the true meaning of Christmas, complaining isn’t going to help your cause. Rejoicing will. Rejoicing is infectious.
I am going to rejoice this Christmas season and I hope you’ll rejoice with me.