While my bread is rising I feel like talking about what I was thinking about while I was kneading. I was thinking about the “Keep Christ In Christmas” thing.
I think that as a friendly reminder to fellow Christians not to get caught up in the shopping, social obligations, travel and food to the point that they forget the spiritual core of this holiday (a word which came from “holy- day” by the way) it is a good thing.
However, having spent the first half of my life as an atheist, I have some suggestions about saying this to everyone else, or acting like the world stole Christmas from us- which, I realize, is easy to feel though only we do that to ourselves.
First of all before saying something, I try really hard to think of what I actually want to accomplish by saying it, what’s really going to happen from what I say, and how it will likely feel to the other person. I don’t always do this so well as I am hopelessly impulsive and I have strong convictions too. But I think it’s important to try.
I probably would have become interested in Jesus a lot earlier in life if it had not been for negative experiences with Christians, ranging from mildly annoying to absolutely offensive.
Judgmental, hurtful, disrespectful talk, and callous attitudes were the main repellants for me.
I don’t think it’s all that bad to say, “keep Christ in Christmas.” But to an unbeliever or someone from another faith that doesn’t sound the way you wish it did.
First of all there is a lot of cross- cultural and inter-religious influence in our current celebrations of Christmas that weren’t even originally about Jesus, to begin with, necessarily. For me that argument doesn’t matter one bit. But it is understandable that it is a comeback for non Christians when they feel unhelpfully disapproved of about Christmas.
I do believe, as Pope Benedict said in his Christmas message of 2011, that it is important for us to retain the profound simplicity of Christmas: the humility of Christ, the remembrance of the great mystery of our Faith, which is the Incarnation, and not to get stuck in the “false glitter.”
I never have trouble getting stuck in the false glitter. I have trouble with the stress and obligations. I’m not very good at that stuff. So it freaks me out.
I say, let the world have the materialism, the obligations, the stress, and all the glitter and lights it wants. I will keep Jesus on that silent night.
I don’t think there is anything wrong with unbelievers exchanging presents and having Christmas trees, or with us doing that either.
Why don’t we each take what enhances the meaning of the Solemnity of the Nativity for each of us, and leave the rest to others if they want it?
I think when we say things to non Christians like that if they don’t want Jesus, then they shouldn’t celebrate, is counter productive.
I think indignantly saying, “Keep Christ in Christmas,” to an unbelieving world, is just confirming its’ negative impressions of us as judgmental, pushy people who don’t care what others might think or feel or believe.
This sort of thing never brought anyone to the love of Jesus.
I think we give Christ best when we do our best to act like Him. Let’s just do that. What a Christmas that would be. And every church would be full.