“The Hypocrisy of ‘Bleepmas'” (Retaking the Village Green 12/4/19)

It was an all too familiar story. A local town board is petitioned by a group. Offended by the Christmas themes of the season, they wanted the local lighting of the now “Holiday Tree” stopped because it was offensive. The town board wanting to be politically correct and culturally sensitive, voted to do away with the celebration and decorations- until someone raised the issue that it would cost $10,000 to replace the wreaths and decorations with something less offensive. The board tabled the decision.

Many today want to enjoy the benefits of the Christmas season. Fun, celebrations, gifts, decorations- these things all bring a little light, and a great deal of profits during this time of year when it seems the sun sets soon after it rises. Shorter dark days are perception for most, reality if you live in Alaska, or the Arctic Circle, or your parent’s basement. What could be wrong with those benefits?

What is wrong is that today people want the fun, celebrations, and the profits of the season and cast aside the religious foundation of the season. They want the “bling” without the responsibility. Retailers look forward to the profits, municipalities plan fairs and events. Schools plan pageants, concerts, and fundraisers. It is commercialism at its best, hypocrisy at the worst.

To ignore any religious significance to the season is a blatant political correctness gone amok and the hubris of hypocrisy. Even the ancient Romans celebrated the festival of Saturnalia to honor the god, Saturn. One historian, Sir James Frazier, describes that celebration as a time, “when the darker passions find a vent which would not be allowed in ordinary life.”

This season is a time that the Christian Church, in all of its different branches, and over 1 billion followers worldwide (not exactly an insignificant number), stop and celebrate the God of all creation who, in an act of love, delivered His Son, Jesus Christ, into this world as a gift for us, to bring deliverance to us. The gift of Christ was priceless for God to give, and free for any to take.  Generations before, Isaiah the prophet would describe this person, this gift, as the “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace. He would be empowered to bring peace, and the world should welcome with open arms. Not a bad gift in our increasingly hostile and divided world.

The greeting, “Merry Christmas”- (“Be glad. Go, it is the sending of the Messiah.” literally) should be one that all followers of Jesus should embrace and proclaim boldly, gladly, and with great grace to others. The odorless, colorless, tasteless greeting, “Happy Holidays,” has no power to change a world or a heart. The God of all creation, through His Son Jesus, can. That is worth a true celebration.

So, while we may be tempted to condemn others for whitewashing the “reason for the season,” may those who follow Jesus (remember we are 1 billion strong) not be silent in sharing the message of God’s hope for us, His love shown to us, in Jesus Christ to bring healing for any of us.

The gift of Jesus you will never find on sale, and is always available 24/7. Celebrate well.

Merry Christmas,

Pastor Kevin

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