Bill Watterson, the creator of the strip, makes a really excellent point. Consumerism, entertainment, and spirituality really are odd companions.
In fact, when you back up and look at it with some cold skepticism, the whole thing is… well, it’s sort of strange.
For example: why do we drag a dead tree into the house and hang gaudy things all over it? What in the world does that have to do with the birth of Christ? Imagine if a stranger from another land visited your house at Christmas.
“Why are you doing that?” he asks.
“Why, we are celebrating Christ, good sir!”
“Oh, who is that?”
“He’s the son of God.”
“I see,” he says. “Your god is a tree.”
“Oh, then he was born in a tree?”
“Born in a forest?”
“No,” you reply. “A stable.”
“In a notably forested country, then.”
“Actually, it was semi-desert.”
“So no evergreens?”
“Ah.” By now he’s really confused. “But it was at least a wooden stable, right?”
“Actually, it was most likely brick.”
“And no trees in the stable?”
“I seriously doubt it. Mostly cows sheep and goats.”
“Okay, then I must ask. Why the tree?”
“Uh…” You squint at your own Christmas tree, now equally baffled. “I don’t really know.”
For that matter, why the lights? Why are we climbing roofs, risking life and limb to string gaudy lights that don’t work? I don’t know. But it’s what we do.
And I’m not saying we shouldn’t. I love all of these holiday traditions. I’m just concerned that the real purpose for the party is being lost in the celebration.
Let me suggest two things that will help to keep the purpose in your Christmas preparations. First, don’t allow the busy preparations to keep you from God’s quiet presence. Second, in preparing for Christmas, don’t allow your material passions to overshadow his spiritual purpose.