December 13, 2007

The Big Fight (Be A Blessing)

Let the fight begin. In fact, it started a while ago. Every twelve months or so these two superstars face off for the match of the season, waiting to see if this is the year that one of them will finally go down for the count. At least, so many of us act like we expect a fight like that, taking a side and rooting them on from the stands. Merry Christmas, not Happy Holidays! PUNCH! Don't give in to the commercialism! BLOCK! Today's culture has ruined the true spirit of Christmas! JAB! Don't waste your money on gifts when kids are dying all over the world! GUILT! Traffic and egg nog and mall Santas and peppermint mochas make baby Jesus cry! TAKE THAT! And so on and so forth.

Some of my best memories with my family are of us trudging through a foot of snow, being stuck in traffic jams, hunting through malls for some perfect gift for Dad or for a cousin or someone at church. I think that maybe we react too much, sometimes, as Christians. We cheer on a fight where none is needed. And where it would be so much better, so much more Christian, so much more Christmas-y you might say, to act in peace and gentleness.

Love and peace are good, consumerism is bad, yes we all know. But maybe we’re better off working within our traditions and embracing them, rather than so often fighting against them. Go ahead and go to the mall this weekend and look for a nice gift for your mom. And then go home and send a nice check to a charity. And then go help your neighbor shovel his snow while you talk about the latest toys and XBox games that his kids want for Christmas. Be a blessing.

That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.

After all, if you did believe in Santa, it was your parents who probably told you about him. There were stories about his home in the North Pole, his elves, his wife, his reindeer, and all of the gifts he brought every year to good kids. Part of it was motivation for you to be good all year, but part of it was the excitement of something magical that you believed in, that didn't seem like it could really happen but you believed it did. Maybe you even heard Santa some nights, or caught a glimpse of him shooting back up your chimney. There were presents under your tree in the morning that were most certainly not there when you went to bed, and many of them said "From: Santa" on the gift tags. You or one of your friends may have fully and completely believed that you saw him land on one of your neighbor's roofs one Christmas night. Some of your friends at school laughed at you for believing in stupid Santa, who was obviously not real. "Your parents put those gifts under the tree--it's a perfectly logical explanation," they might have said. But they didn't understand.

And it occurred to me, how much different are Santa and Jesus, in that respect? If you go back through that last paragraph and replace 'Santa' with 'Jesus', and then change a few of the story details to reflect Jesus' life rather than Santa's, I think you end up with an accurate representation of a lot of our experience with belief in Jesus and God. And maybe, in a similar way, those very traditions that we're so worried will overtake and destroy Christmas have a lot more to do with Jesus than we remember?

1 comment:

Matthew said...

and to think. Santa is actually a SAINT in the RCC. oh, what have we done to you Saint Nick that now you're fighting Jesus, your own Lord and savior?!?!?