I feel a bit like I’m adding a couple decibels to a riotous noise when it comes to blogging about Christmas, but it’s that riotous noise that draws me to do so. It’s a compelling, gravitational subject that is hard to avoid even if (and partially because) there is an abundance of noise about it.
Much has been said, written, and lamented about how the world is “taking Christ out of Christmas.” This is an understandable sentiment in a couple regards. When Christmas season is officially kicked off by pepper spraying Xbox shoppers and stampeding (literally, with tramplings and all) Wal-Mart customers it is not very Christ-like and is quite lamentable. When people grew up with traditions of Christmas that centered on church, pageants, caroling and other seemly, peaceful, and communal activities this new era of pop schlock Christmas albums and the ever-condemned commercialism is jarring and repulsive.
On the other hand, though, I am constantly reminded of one basic truth: You can’t take Christ out of Christmas. Now, I know what people mean when they talk about taking Christ out of Christmas, but truly there is no Christmas without Christ. What people are celebrating and commercializing is a holiday that used to be Christian and, like most cultural phenomena in our broken world, has become secularized and godless.
But the birth of Christ is not lost just because people go berserk over large screen TV deals and buy Mariah Carey albums. Jesus was born. It’s a fact. It happened in history. And you can’t take the truth away with eggnog, cookies, and presents.
The commercialization, the shopping craze, the decorations, the parties, the music, and all those other things that add up to “holiday spirit” cannot replace the work of the Holy Spirit. Mary was with child by the Holy Spirit. I want to remember that, to focus on that in the midst of this holiday spirit (i.e. nostalgic emotional high).
There’s no such thing as taking Christ out of Christmas, so rather than screaming our lungs out about our culture doing so keep focused on Christ in the midst of the noise and chaos. Screaming at culture has about the same effect as screaming at teenager; it’s not going to work. But winsome influence over time and letting your holiday spirit be one that is full of Holy Spirit just might.