We all think of standards at this time of year which are thought of as normal. The economy has changed the usual volume of spending but even the most thrift conscious will most likely put up a Christmas tree, perhaps send out cards, make special holiday treats like cookies, make or buy gifts for loved ones and execute any number of habitual holiday traditions because they wouldn't dream of eliminating these traditions out of their lives.
This may be the first year of my life that I have seriously pondered why I think these holiday customs are necessary to celebrate Christmas. For many years now I have involved myself in the usual machinations of yuletide customs. The reason I feel this way is because I did something completely different this year. I decided to join in a cantata given mostly in Welsh through the Colorado Welsh Society which I joined back in September. I am only familiarized with this language so it was good to have translations in English readily available. Some songs were familiar and then some of them were completely foreign to me but not to a native Welsh speaker. It certainly did me a world of good because it gave me a whole different perspective.
If you don't already know this, I am a Christian and I have been most of my life. Quite a few movies and television specials for Christmas have a message that is clearly Christian with the exception of the most recent. In the Charlie Brown Christmas Special that is played every year the consensus of all these children is that it has become too commercialized and it's true that, for the most part, it has been. However, something even worse has happened systematically and without warning: Christmas has become too secularized.
We, who are Christian, have allowed our most precious holiday to become a buying season, making merry, bribing kids into good behavior with it and partying along with all the rest of the world into an oblivious state of disillusion. According to what I've been reading for years, chronic sufferers of the debilitating mental state of depression plunge back into their old mental state more deeply at this time of year than any other.
I am writing this as a challenge to all Christians to take our holy day back, start celebrating the real reason why we started this tradition and perhaps we'll see a change in the world we never expected. Maybe atheists will sit up and take notice when we tell them, "I'm celebrating Christmas at church." Buddhists may be surprised when we insist on all references to Santa, reindeer and gift buying to end. As far as lights and decorations go- they're all fine to a point because they cheer us up during a rather dreary time of year. However, I believe a manger scene should be at the front and center of all of them, not done away with because it makes reference to a specific religion. We are celebrating Christmas and I would challenge anyone to say differently. Well, let me put it this way: if we aren't then what exactly are we celebrating?
The Castle Lady, keeping Christ in Christmas this year!