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Always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience (1 Peter 3:15b-16a ESV)

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12/14/2004

Merry Whateveryoucallit: A Secular Holiday 

I mentioned this in another post, but I wanted to elaborate a little bit. I was inspired by this at Wheat and Chaff and this at the Evangelical Outpost. Both make great points.

I am sick of the commercialization and secularization of Christmas. I worked retail, and spent a LONG time actually dreading the Christmas season, simply because of the long hours, the bad attitudes, and the stress. Now that I'm out of retail, I'm getting better, but it still takes me until December 23 to really get into Christmas. Of course, the Christmas spirit usually lasts me until after my birthday (January 26 -- put it on your calendars now!!), so maybe I should observe the Orthodox Christmas on January 6.

Maybe we all should. All Christians, I mean. Let the secularists and the rest of the world have their holiday in December. They can call it Santaday, or something like that. Even call it Yule -- I don't care. They can celebrate it on December 25. Have their truely secular holiday.

We can still participate in it -- that's the beauty of the idea. We can still, if we want to, go out and spend ourselves into a huge debt buying things for everyone so they can exchange them on the 26th for what they really want. But on January 6, we have Christmas to do what you are supposed to do on Christmas -- celebrate the birth of our Savior.

I found it interesting that Christmas wasn't on December 25 until about 350 AD. Before then, the birth of Christ was supposed to be celebrated by a solemn feast. We've lost the solemnity of the day.

I doubt we'll ever change the day we celebrate Christmas. But maybe we should think seriously about celebrating it our way. Buy presents for people -- but don't blow the budget for the next two years. Decorate -- but don't take out a substation with all the lights you put out. And maybe, when we remember that Christmas celebrates the day when God, in His infinite mercy, sent His Son with the ultimate goal of dying in our place, for our sins, we'll remember the true meaning of Christmas AND of Easter. Because when we look at the manger, we should see the cross as well. And we should never forget that without that baby in the manger, nothing that we can do could ever bring us closer to the goal of reconciliation with God. Not because of what we've done, but because of who He is. And maybe we'll remember what the last words Jesus spoke were:
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
Acts 1:8, ESV
And that's the true meaning of Christmas, Charlie Brown.
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