Tuesday, January 04, 2011

I Wish I Liked Christmas As Much As I Like Christ

Can I be brutally honest? I mean, this is my blog. You get to read it for free. So I guess I can say what I want to say. Perhaps I'm feeling a little "post-holiday cranky." I've had 3 different viruses in the last 4 days (though number 3 might be an allergy. Who can ever tell about these things?) So watch out.

I warned ya...

Christmas is not my favorite time of the year. I know, I sound like a pagan or a communist or something for saying that. I've spent 55 years denying it but it's time to 'fess up. Let me make a few things very clear first.

A) I love Jesus. Actually, I love the whole Trinity. Father, Son, Holy Spirit. And I totally do not mean to be flippant or disrespectful in my phraseology. I am not merely a Jesus fan ... He is my Savior. I owe Him everything. He is my best friend. I would rather spend time alone with Him than anyone. I take joy in worshipping Him. So my lack of passion for Christmas is not a lack of passion for the birthday Boy. Not even close.

B) I love the church. She is the Bride of Christ. I am a part of her. I do not disrespect her, feel cynical about her, or in anyway mean to trash talk her. Never trash talk Jesus bride. That would, I suspect, be a very dangerous thing to do.

C) I love my family and my friends. Both my local family and my long-distance family. I would do anything for them. My local friends and my long-distance friends. Again, they are on my short list of things (people) I would die for. So I don't mean any of this as a slam against them. For that matter, I don't mean it as a slam against anybody.

So now that we have that out of the way, here we go.

The Christmas season sometimes leaves me cold. It is all of the usual things that people complain about when they analyze Christmas and it is more. Crass commercialism? Yes, of course. I detest the way that the media insists on a day by day dissection of whether or not we are going to spend as much money on each other as we did last year. How despicable is that? While Santa reigns in center court of every mall, Jesus sits outside somewhere beyond the parking lot. And we do not even try to hide it. "We" being the church. We fall for the same thing pagan's fall for. The only possible difference is that we spend our money in "Christian" bookstores ... of course they are owned by conglomerates that have nothing to do with anything remotely Christian. On the other hand I am well aware that I should not expect anything better out of the world. I mean, at least we are giving each other gifts. We are generally not killing each other. We are, for once, being nice and thinking of people other than ourselves. So I suppose that there is a plus side. It's just a smaller plus side than I would like.

I confess to being bugged by eight foot tall glowing Santa's. Mine is only four feet tall. I suppose my problem must lie in the additional four feet?

And then there is "The Little Drummer Boy." Have you ever really listened to that song? It's about some guy playing a drum solo for baby Jesus and getting a smile in return. Isn't that just a little bit goofy? There are twenty-one "rum pum pum pum's." This lyrical masterpiece has one hundred and sixty eight words. Ninety eight of those words are either pa, rum, or pum. That leaves seventy words for substance and story line. Do I really need to say more?

Fudge. I love fudge. Vanilla is my favorite but nobody makes it so I settle for chocolate. It is usually polluted by nuts of some sort. All nuts are evil so it doesn't really matter. I suck the fudge off of them and spit them out. Why do people only make fudge at Christmas? Have you ever seen fudge at an Independence Day celebration? Memorial Day? Have you ever seen green fudge on St. Patricks day? Face it, if it is not Christmas your only hope for getting fudge is to go to some tourist spot and pay $7.99 per pound. Not even fudge is worth $7.99 per pound. Carrot Cake is another evil thing that seems to dominate Christmas. People ... vegetables do not belong in cake. Ever. Make a note of it.

Now that I am fifty five years old the gifts that I receive at Christmas tend to be designed to encourage me to do things that will not hurt me. You know. Things that point me to my favorite easy chair rather than participation in a wild eyed sporting event or even a minor league work-out. I suppose that I should make that concession to Christmas. I can't get hurt watching a dvd in my new sweater. Well, I can. But only if I fall out of my chair.

And here is the real problem. Who has the time during December to really sit down and contemplate what Christmas means? Can you honestly say that at any time during the stretch between Thanksgiving and Christmas day you are able to simply reflect on the magnitude of what this holiday means? I'm not really all that bugged by the shopping and the culinary gorging and such. I'm just irritated that the entire season slips by and I feel so pressured to "do the Christmas thing" that I never connect with Christ Himself. And you know who's fault that is? Mine. You don't run my schedule. Nobody runs my schedule but me. So it's my fault. Not yours. Certainly not God's. The gavel crashes down on nobody but yours truly.

I could go on but what's the point? I am always more tired when Christmas is over than I was when it began. I just wish that we (the church) could find some way to love Jesus out loud without having to fake it. And that is what Christmas so often seems to be. Faking it. Convincing ourselves that we are really loving and caring and self-sacrificing when maybe it's just not so. I think that it would be really cool if, for instance, someone would just forget about the fudge and instead call up a friend and just say, "How are you doing? Tell me the truth. What is on the front burner of your brain these days? Let me in on it so that I can pray for you or simply encourage you. Because I care and I don't need to spend a penny to prove it." How refreshing that would be!

Ok, enough. This is probably a really bummer/detestable little article.. I apologize if I drug you down with my thoughts. That was not my goal. Honest. But every now and then I have to just say, "Hey, this is MY blog spot and so I'm just going to write what is on my mind." And that is all that this has been. It's what is on my mind. It may or may not be close to the truth. It may or may not apply to you, the reader. I haven't a clue. It's just where my brain is. I'll probably wake up at about 3AM, burp, and be over it. So sleep tight and puh-lease don't let these mini-ranting make a dent in your tomorrow.

God is good. He can take it when I'm feeling less than exhilarted. I hope you can too. Let's worship Jesus in January even more than we did in December ...


chgodrmr said...

I hear you as I see all the comments about Happy Holidays and taking the Christ out of Christmas it does not settle well. It takes more to have Christ in CHRISTmas than the spelling! The church does busy for Christmas better than any other group I know. I don't think Jesus wants us busy I think He wants us ministering. Christmas is a day that in NO way in my mind should be separated from Easter...How can we as Christians separate the two and either of them stand alone. Glad you wrote it...I'm not cranky, I've not had 3 viruses in that is not my is simply those of us that profess to love Jesus need to do the God so loved the world message shouting from the mountain top. I know you said you don't know about College football. Every God fearing Christian needs to take a wake up call from the kid from TCU that quoted scripture and VERSE from the book of James without hesitation when on National TV. How many of us would do that, how many of us could do that???? We better wake up because while we DO Christmas and ignore For God so loved the world...thousands upon thousands are dieing and going to Hell because we were to busy doing to be loving. Yep, I agree Christmas should be lived all year, not ONE day buried under commercialism. "this little LIGHT of mine" Light = Jesus and it is my responsibility to make sure He shines to everyone around me 24/7.

Amy said...

The Little Drummer Boy is a sick sort of torture and should be banned and destroyed for the sake of humanity.

I decided last year that I am done feeling like a bad Christian because I don't like "doing Christmas". Jesus was probably born in March anyway.

Anonymous said...

My Christmas WISH!

My Christmas wish was and is that Christmas was more like Thanksgiving. Except when you are sitting around contemplating what you are thankful for you don't. Instead you think about it and you know you are thankful for Christ. God coming to us a man living in the pain and sorrow that we live in and and showing us we can be better, there is a way, a truth and light. As we do this we sing with JOY, we love our family with JOY, we love our friends with JOY and most importantly WE LOVE OUR ENEMIES AND STRANGERS WITH JOY. Because of what John said in 3:16 and 17.

For that day and moment we put worries, stress, envy and bitterness away and be thankful for a gift we don't deserve to get (CHRIST).

Thanksgiving should be Thanking God for our person wellness.

Christmas should be Thanking GOD for coming and showing us the way.

Easter should be thanking God for going farther than we have ever gone. And showing us what real LOVE is. John 15:13