I’ve been contemplating coming up with a different word for Christmas, something that’s not commercialized and means what Christmas really should mean. I find myself irritated by people that are upset that stores now say “happy holidays”, and I want to protest their confusion of what virtually everyone considers “Christmas spirit” with anything religious (though I suppose idolatry is religious). The only way it seems appropriate for every single greeter to wish every single customer a Merry Christmas is if it means nothing more than a wish for happiness. And that just adds another layer of whitewash over the real meaning of Christmas. Personally, I think it’s an increase in honesty; a step in the right direction. What most people celebrate is not the birth of Jesus. Most of our “Christmas” traditions aren’t Christian in origin, and have nothing to do with Christianity now.
I wish we could be rid of other veneers of nominal Christianity in America. We should expect sinners to be sinful and saints to be saintly (imperfectly), and it’s to everyone’s detriment when meanings become corrupted and people think they are something they’re not.
What if you were told that all you had to do to get free groceries for a year was to go stand in line at your local grocery store and be the first 500 of people to enter when they open on Black Friday? Free groceries is good, right? You’ll do it! You drive by Thanksgiving day and you see a line forming and you decide that it’s worth it, so you skip out early on dinner and wait all night. You’re pretty cold and sore by morning, but you’re encouraged by the signs in the windows that advertise the amazing, once-in-a-lifetime free gift to the first 500 people. They open up and you’re handed a whole case of Twinkies. Not just any Twinkies, these are the last Twinkies from the factory! No matter how much you like Twinkies, or enjoy speculating on collectable cakes, you’re understandably bummed. You wanted a good, valuable, and useful thing, and you got a mass-produced confection that you’ve seen sold on every street corner. Now, just imagine that instead of groceries, you were promised Heaven. Sorry, go to Hell.
I wonder if I could celebrate Advent instead.