(Note: The boy holding a security blanket with a thumb in his mouth has more wisdom than most of us for Christmas.)
For many of us, Christmas certainly isthe most wonderful time of the year! I shared last year that we love it so much that we had a Christmas wedding. It made the celebration even more special.
Christmas obviously isn’t without its controversies and issues. A general review of articles and research reveals that reports of a higher suicide rate at Christmas are a myth. However, the prevalence of additional feelings of sadness, stress, and loneliness during this season is definitely real.
Little wonder as loved ones who were always present pass on, leaving gaps at the table. Preparation skyrockets with shopping, decorating, partying, baking, cooking, and overeating. I hazard to add that extra alcohol consumption generally doesn’t help in making things more merry and bright.
Trendy Seasonal Discourse – No War on “Merry Christmas”
This year, there is a new trend. The “enlightened, progressive” thinkers are announcing, mostly on social media, that there never was a war on saying “Merry Christmas.” You are playing the victim, they say, if you feel forced into accepting or saying “Happy Holidays” only. Express whatever you like.
This is likely true in meeting your average, cheerful person on the street or at the store. Say “Merry Christmas” and you’ll likely receive the same in return, or at least a pleasant reply.
The “progressives” are conveniently omitting that the war on the true meaning of Christmas has already been fought and won…or lost, depending on your worldview.
They cannot dispute the systematic removal of nativity displays throughout North America. Check out this link for a sample of the typical “progress” in this movement (Santa Monica’s ban on park Nativity displays upheld; Los Angeles Times, April 30, 2015).
(Friendly Disclaimer: This article is not political in any way, as I realize fake news creeps into this discussion, as false accusations of Obama removing the White House nativity scene were popular.)
Christmas Goodies in the West
I live this “advancement” to our society every year in the public school system, as our primary students perform a “holiday show.”
However, it’s ironic how much my preteen students are fascinated by stories of the baby Jesus, wise men, manger birth, etc., when the few churched kids in class disclose it. (It’s similar to how intrigued they are when they hear how Aslan and his sacrifice in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe represent Jesus and His sacrifice.) It’s amazing how the truth screams out “Real Life!” to youth, rather than “Indoctrination!”
And you know what? I’m basically okay with the culture’s celebration of Christmas. Just because I’m Christian doesn’t blind me to the fact that the western world is secular with its own cultural quirks, rights, and preferences.
I delight in the sacred totality of Christmas. I can’t replace Christ with an X. I couldn’t even insert “mess” for “mass” in the article title as I initially planned.
If secular society wants to borrow and integrate the Christian aspects of giving, goodwill, joy, miracles and peace, then have at it secular humanists…that’s better than cancelling Christmas.
There wasn’t room for Mary and her new family in the inn. Why should we expect today’s confident, independent, self-assured generation x-ers, millennials, and post-millenials to have room for Jesus in their hearts, just because it’s Christmas? (Or rather is it a self-destructive, mentally unhealthy generation according to mental health statistics?)
Christmas with an Open Heart and Magical Outlook
But if you face stress rather than bliss, family arguments rather than peace, loneliness rather than abundant love, etc., then listen to the wisdom of Linus. The boy holding a security blanket with a thumb in his mouth has more wisdom than most of us.
In A Charlie Brown Christmas, poor old Charlie Brown is agitated by the commercialism of Christmas. To shake the Yuletide doldrums, he becomes play director, only to be disregarded and doubted by the cast. Finally he’s harshly ridiculed for his poor choice of a puny Christmas tree for the production.
Charlie is defeated and despairs of not knowing the meaning of Christmas. He screams, “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?”
Linus replies, “Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about?”
As Linus tells the real Christmas story,note how he drops his security blanket midway through. This gesture has more meaning than all the gift cards and promotions from Macy’s.
The greatest gift of Christmas is living in the security of knowing Christ. May you share, receive, and treasure that security this Christmas, more than anything else.
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: (the security blanket is dropped).
for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.