As the “Holiday season” comes to a close for many, I find myself reflecting on the current state of Christmas. Much attention has been given by some Christian corners to the so-called “war on Christmas”. It is hard to consider this with objectivity, though in the opinion of this writer, the holiday season will always be with us.
Economics has become such a large part of contemporary culture that the spending-boon of the holiday season cannot, economically speaking, go away. Things such as Black-Friday and Cyber-Monday are ingrained in our vocabulary and holiday psyche confirming this.
Where the world cannot succeed in blotting out Christmas entirely, it certainly has found a way to marginalize it. Rarely are we greeted with Merry Christmas, rather the bland “Happy holidays”. Yes, our society is becoming more diverse. However, we can witness non-Christians today decorating and putting up the Christmas tree. This celebration has become a cultural norm in this country. But what is this they celebrate?
The world cannot erase Christmas but it tries to replace it with a day and celebration in line with the spirit of this age. In place of the peace, joy, and love found in the original blessings of the season; we instead see anxiety, depression, and stress. These are the fruits of the world. Anxious are those shoppers rushing to-and-fro to find that list minute bargain. They are forced into this strategy because of their own tight-budget or because of the extended hours they work to satisfy the consumer holiday rush. Many social health-care workers have attested to the rise of depression during this time of year. Seemingly healthy, well adjusted adults succumb to a feeling of emptiness or depression, possibly because of some let-down from the holidays. Christmas was magical to us as children when we did not have a care in the world, except what was in our stocking or wrapped under the tree. At this time when we hear “peace on earth” in our carols, great is the sense of stress as the high from the holiday binge comes to a crash in the realization of 6 months of bills. Such a vicious cycle.
This is the way that the world defeats Christmas, by stealing our peace and our joy and our attentiveness to the Nativity of Him Who came to save fallen man. We marvel at the joy of the children so let us become like them, marveling in the awesome and sublime condescension of our Lord – leaving His throne on High to dwell in the Virgin’s womb and become man to restore mankind. God becomes man to make man godlike. There can be nothing greater or more awesome than this. The incomprehensible God reveals Himself.
So as the days draw closer to our Saviour’s birth, let us journey like the Magi in anticipation of that great event promised of old. So great was their anticipation that they traveled far to behold Him Whose coming was foretold:
I shall see Him, but not now: I shall behold Him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth, and Edom shall be a possession. Seir also shall be a possession for his enemies; and Israel shall do valiantly. Out of Jacob shall come He that shall have dominion, and shall destroy him that remaineth of the city (Numbers 24:17_19).
May our Lord grant us a spirit of child-like joy, enthusiasm, and wonder at this blessed time!