Christmas Unreality

19 12 2008

I think the more I have come to appreciate the Christmas story, the more I have not appreciated the trappings that the modern world affixes to Christmas. In fact, increasingly the modern Western world doesn’t really know how to handle Christmas.  I have seen a number of articles this year bemoaning the political correctness, worst it seems on the west coast of America, where everyone has become so oversensitive that we hardly dare mention the very word, Christmas. What a sad bunch!

The other day I was brought to tears over Christmas. I have the privilege of meeting each week with a group of about seven or eight women from a variety of backgrounds, most of whom are young Christians, to help build their faith. This last week I invited them to write their own reflections about Christmas and then to read them out. When it came to it, they asked me to read them out, and it was then that tears flowed. Here are a couple of extracts:

As the end of the year is approaching, faster than I would like, I find myself feeling anxious, worried and lonely about various things. I have a feeling of apprehension about the Christmas morning, with my daughter opening presents, a meal for two, for which I’ve yet to find the money, to buy, cook and clear away all by myself. Yet when I think about it more deeply, which I tend not to do because it’s easier not to, I realise that it boils down to loneliness.  It’s supposed to be a family time when people meet and greet – so why do I feel dread when I think of that day?  One reason is that although it will be me and my daughter, I will still feel alone – just her and me – lonely. But as I am writing this I am feeling the Lord saying to me, “You are not alone – you have me,” and as long as I remember that leading up to, during and after, then maybe I won’t feel so alone. After all, it is because of this day that I have a friend that I can always rely upon, any time, anywhere!

……………………………….

Christmas has always been a family time. As a child it was exciting. Once I had my own children, Christmas became special again. I could indulge again in all the wonder and make-believe, but it was all make-believe. That didn’t mean I didn’t enjoy bits but the rest of it, as a pre-Christian adult, has just been hiding the junk under a bit of tinsel. Horrible things have happened at Christmas time: my mum dying and my marriage breaking up. The glittering lights seemed to expose all the horrible stuff and give a real yearning for the make-believe to become real. When I think back it was usually a time of wishes and hopes followed by disappointment. Since becoming a Christian, there’s still a real yearning to get Christmas right for me, trying to drop the trappings and find the right way to celebrate the birth of our Lord. One day I will figure out the right way for me to celebrate Christmas. Whatever bad things have happened in the past, and whatever may happen in the future, I have hope, the best Christmas present ever, that was given to us all on that first Christmas when Jesus as born.

……………………………….

I don’t know how those two strike you but, as I said, I was moved to tears, tears for their honesty, tears for their pain, and tears over what we have done to Christmas.

The reason the politically correct world doesn’t like Christmas is because it challenges the lie  that today’s clueless world makes, that all religions are the same. Christmas declares the New Testament’s assertion that at some time, some two thousand years ago, a whole lot of Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled by the coming of God to the earth in the form of a tiny baby (I’ll write another blog on that!).  Nowhere else in all history is this claim made and it is this which challenges and upsets the unbelieving, materialistic, humanistic world of today.  It may be beyond our understanding but the evidence (when you genuinely examine it) is compelling.

Both the two girls who I quoted above have been through tough times, abandoned with their children. It’s a familiar tale and it may be that you are so used to it that you remain unmoved. If that is so, that is very sad. Christmas is a time of mixed emotions; it’s a time when emotions are brought out. Can we add to them compassion and care and acceptance, characteristics of the one that the Christmas babe became? Dare we let our emotions be stirred to create action, this Christmas, that means the world is changed just a bit for the good? Dare we take time to sit down and examine the evidence and be moved? It could become a different Christmas.

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