I read a Twitter update from someone I follow (I honestly wish I could remember who tweeted this so I could give proper credit.) and they posed this question:
How would your celebration of Christmas be different if it were not a national holiday?
This is an interesting question. The celebration of Christmas (or the holiday season) has become a month long extraveganza beginning the day after Thanksgiving and running through New Years. The federal government gives declares that Christmas is a national holiday and many have the day off. Retailers extend our sense of celebration by promoting sale after sale with images of the ‘ideal’ Christmas celebration/gift/lifestyle. Even though Christmas is a Christian Holy Day- it has become more of a cultural holiday to where non-Christians celebrate the Christmas (although in a consumeristic manner)
How would Christmas be different if it was not a national holiday?
- First, I believe that Christmas would be entirely less about presents and gifts and more about the presences of God in flesh and the gift of worship that we offer through our lives.
- Since it would be less of a cultural thing- I think Christmas would be a time when the Church would gather to worship. Sure, we get together on Christmas Eve- but I think there would be a deeper more profound experience if you didn’t have to get through the cultural expectations of Candle Light Services, Christmas Cantatas, Children’s Plays, or tip-toeing around Santa.
- There might be a greater emphasis on Easter and the weeks leading up to Easter. You can’t have Easter without Christmas- but we can’t leave Jesus as a babe in the straw either. Christmas is only the beginning of the Easter story. Can we do a better job of framing Christmas in the Easter story?
As Christmas approaches, I’ll be thinking about this question a little bit more- especially as I prepare my Christmas Eve message later in the week.
On a side note- seminary just ended for the semester last night. I hope to be a little more regular in my posting. (Maybe more thoughtful too!)