Good News – Making Sense of Christmas

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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.”

“Well, no.”

“Oh, then he was born in a tree?”

“Not exactly.”

“Born in a forest?”

“No,” you reply. “A stable.”

“In a notably forested country, then.”

“Actually, it was semi-desert.”

“So no evergreens?”

“No.”

“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.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Christmas is way too commercial in the West. Here in Georgia (former Soviet Union), Christmas is marked by an all night vigil in church on the night of 6th/7th January (Orthodox Christmas). New Year’s Eve is the big present giving day.
    The Christmas tree tradition came from Germany, Martin Luther may have been one of the first to bring a tree into the house and decorated it with lighted candles. Saint Boniface cut down an oak tree that the German pagans worshipped, and replaced it with an evergreen tree, telling them about how its triangular shape reminds humanity of the Trinity and how it points to heaven.

    Like

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