"Merry Christmas," qua "All Hail King Jesus"
I have just about had it with Jaded Evangelical Disilusion with Christmas on the one hand, and Flippant Disregard on the other. I heard a bright young person wish his friend "Happy Holidays," in Church, on Sunday; very, very Annoying.
The Town Square outside my apartment has this gorgeous enormous lit Christmas tree in its center; at dusk each night for the last month, it illumines its snowy environs along with the glittering snowflake which hangs on the Charming Intersection of Chapel and College. Starbucks has everything in red, and Hark the Herald Angels playing; The Nation's First of most lovely little boutiques across the Green are bedecked in green. Christians, of all people, should be hilarious with delight at the way our world resounds with the Gospel at this time of the year.... and all without much effort on our part.
These Christmas symbols Mean Something, and they emerge on a ready world each December, to be unveiled along with with the Gospel which they signify- twinkling lights for the Light which shines in darkness; evergreens because God's creation is renewed with the Incarnation, being returned to the One for whom it was made, death is undone, life WILL flourish; red for the precious Life-Blood which accomplished it all. We exchange gifts to commemorate the unqualified grace of the Cross, the proper Christmas Tree. There is even, a poignant story behind Candy Canes, for Pete's Sake. And what are many Christians doing? They sulk about "commercialism," "pagan solstice origins," "seasonal stress," "holiday blues," and "Market Economy Exploitation of the Season." Oh COME ON. In a world where one's children may be slowly put to death for one's mere confession of Christ, we get to rollick in His fame, and our very storefronts do it with us. This is a Winter Wonderland for Jesus' followers. Its amazing.
The Psalmist simply loses it when he describes his vision of his Lord: "My heart is overflowing with a good matter; I speak of the things which I have made for the King. Thou art fairer than all the children of men; grace is poured from thy lips; therefore God has blessed thee forever; in thy majesty ride prosperously... and thy right hand shall accomplish awe-inspiring things. .. I will make thy name to be remembered in all generations; therefore shall the people praise thee forever and ever." (Ps 45) This is the Spirit of Christmas.
Jesus is a Rock Star in the world at this time of year. I say blow it all and celebrate Him extravagantly; feast too much, drink and be merry, stay up way too late, get stressed if you have to, have a ton of fun. Far be it from good Christians to dilute this kind of evangelism. The whole world around us WANTS to celebrate The Savior to this extent, as we can tell by the lights and tinsle and trees and gift giving madness. But we knew that all along.
(All of this provoked by a much more erudite treatment at NPR on a commercial push to keep the particularity of Christmas...)