Take the Christ out of Christmas

Category: , By Christian
I keep getting invitations to join the facebook group "Keep the CHRIST in CHRISTmas. So far I have yet to accept. I try not to join very many groups. I especially try to keep groups at arms length whose titles sound like a talking point for a Focus on the Family radio show.

But the invitations have got met thinking: Does Christ want to be kept in Christmas?

This whole movement seems to have started a few years ago when Target, Walmart and other stores moved to a "Happy Holidays" branding in order to be more inclusive. Christians got mad and and declared we wouldn't shop at those stores anymore unless they went back to proclaiming Christmas. Because clearly, Jesus wants to be front-and-center when it comes to corporate branding. But then we realized that would leave us nowhere to shop for our ipods and Christmas lingerie, so we settled for making facebook groups.

Now we have come to this place in our culture where we make a huge deal of "celebrating" the birth of Christ. We do this by not doing things Christ did, but by doing something the wise men did. Except that we don't even get that quite right. Because the wise men brought elaborate gifts to the Christ, and we give elaborate gifts to each other while talking about the Christ.

Is it just me or have we built a cultural crackhouse of consumerism around the manger, and we're trying to duct tape baby Jesus inside so he can't get out? All the while, we're thinking that this is an act of piety. Seems a little crazy to me.

So let's just take the Christ out of Christmas. Let's give ourselves the freedom to be honest and say, "You know what? I love stuff. And I love shopping. And I love Santa. And I love eating to the point of gluttony. And I love being a sloth and sitting around and watching 32 bowl games." It seems like it would be way less disingenuous then the current tension we have going on right now.

We can stop calling it "Christmas". Call it Xmas. The Holidays. Whatever. We will sing all of the carols that don't mention Jesus. We can eat, drink, be merry and do our patriotic duty of buying stuff. Lots and lots of stuff. And yeah, we'll be sinning. But at least we'll be sinning less because we won't be guilty of religious syncratism.

Then, we can choose some other time to celebrate the Birth of Christ. But we won't give it a flashy name. We will set it up in a way that advertisers and business won't want to hijack it because it won't be nearly as sexy as the current celebration.

I propose a two day celebration. A Saturday and a Sunday. First, we will adopt a more Jewish celebration of our New Year and use it as a day of atonement. Then, we will have our two day celebration of Christ's birth a couple of weeks later. The first day will be a Sabbath. We will simply abide in God. We won't consume. We won't create. We will enjoy the presence of our maker.

Then Sunday we can go to church for an early service. And we'll spend the rest of the day serving. Together. As a body. Celebrating the birth and life of Jesus. All the while we can sing the carols that talk about The Christ and the amazing reality of the incarnation. We can be amazed at how the Good News has broken into history and is being lived out 2000 years later.

Then perhaps we would be more prone to actually celebrate Sabbath the rest of the year. Perhaps we would better know what it means to abide in Christ and live in Christ. And perhaps when Xmas rolled around the next time we wouldn't just join Advent Conspiracy facebook groups, but we'd live it out in such a way that it was truly conspiratorial in the sense that it would be undoing deep seated cultural dysfunction.

Quite frankly, fewer people would probably celebrate the birth of Christ under those circumstances. A little too counter-cultural for the masses. But at least we wouldn't have to hold him hostage there.

Renew and Restore.

3 comments so far.

  1. goodnightrose 10:49 AM
    Have you seen the wal mart ads this season?

    Their slogan is “Christmas is cheaper at Wal-Mart.”
  2. adam paul 10:51 AM
    i propose we observe advent in the way it was meant to be observed - waiting and hoping expectantly and excitedly. christmas is already a multi-day event.

    in the defense of the "advent conspiracy" facebook group - unlike the "keep the christ in christmas" group it at least provides a legitimate course of action for addressing our culture's messed up mindset. it transcends the act of clicking "join group". i'm making all my gifts this year. and i'm also not in the group.

    also, in the defense of my dislike for ku - it has next to nothing to do with liking kstate. hilarious cereal bowl comment. i probably would've used the "toilet bowl" instead though.
  3. luke 12:41 PM
    can we at least still have one, maybe two bowl games in there? please?

Something to say?