The annual Christmas promise not to be driven this holiday season by the onslaught of "busyness" by the secular world, and the financial push manufactured by our consumer based economy, has fallen to the wayside — and, as of the day before Halloween, we were already in the grips of the Season of Secular Christmas. Well, I guess it's to have been expected.
The annual Christmas promise not to be driven this holiday season by the onslaught of “busyness” by the secular world, and the financial push manufactured by our consumer based economy, has fallen to the wayside — and, as of the day before Halloween, we were already in the grips of the Season of Secular Christmas. Well, I guess it’s to have been expected.
Normally, like many of God’s “Frozen Chosen,” I would go on and on about the loss of Christmas’ sober and serious theological implications on our lives, and how we should not give in to the influence of a world that pushes itself into “our” religious calendar, tromping all over it, to move into what “they” want to emphasize about what “we” as Christians believe. But, I am not going there this year.
This year I want to take a different tact. I want to give in to the world — at least I want to give to the
world what I perceive it really wants and longs for…Joy, Hope, Peace, Love.
Perhaps, the problem with Christmas is not its secularization, but our apathy as Christians. Perhaps in chastising the world we’ve forgotten the true meaning of the Season to our own lives - have become blind to the promise of its truth to transform lives, even our own.
Forget pointing to the world for the emptiness of the Season, point to ourselves. The secular world has not taken over Christmas, we have opted out. The world does not define our relationship to Christ, why do we allow it such power over us or our celebrations?
In a time fraught with death, war, crime, poverty, loss, need, hate and fear, I want to point to the life, peace, safety, richness, fullness, love, and security that is to be found in the true meaning of Christmas and what it points to — JESUS. The world is ready, and willing I believe, to hear now the message of hope, not think about hearing later.
The world is poised, and has set the stage to celebrate Christmas. It is only waiting for those who know Jesus, who find in their heart the true meaning of Christmas to share it. So, let’s throw ourselves into the celebration, and explain to others why we are celebrating, and exactly who it is we are celebrating. Let us return to the world a meaning to Christmas, far beyond the hollowness it has developed into… It is not about an historic figure, but the living Christ.
If the world ever needed the message of salvation and hope it is now! Call the world to consider the meaning of Jesus Christ by sharing the impact on your life of the coming of God into the world as one of us, “robed in flesh” (the Incarnation of God) — reconciling you/us all to Himself. Call the world to think on the ramifications of the fact that Jesus, that baby whose birth we celebrate, grew up, ascended into Heaven, and will one day return to bring us home to the heavenly regions, where we will dwell forever in his closer presence.
Let the world know that the celebration we share with them, is that of the greatest gift ever, that God gave us the gift of His son!
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The Rev. Walter Van Zandt Windsor is rector at Trinity Episcopal Church.
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