Friday, December 17, 2010

The War On Christmas

*This is a repost, but about this time of year I get absolutely fed up with the hype about people wanting to take the Christ out of Christmas when American Evangelical Christians have already eviscerated it pretty thoroughly. I mean...who took the MASS out of ChristMASS? Anyway, enjoy...

G. K. Chesterton said "Idolatry is committed, not merely by setting up false gods, but by setting up false devils; by making men afraid of war or alcohol or economic law, when they should be afraid of spiritual corruption and cowardice." Building upon Chesterton’s epigram, there are two forms of moral blindness, blindness to actual evil and seeing evil where none exists.

The bias in the mainstream media about Islamic Supremacist terror (calling it "unrest" or "freedom fighters") is an example of moral blindness to an existing evil. The statement by Nelson Mandela that America wants a world holocaust is an example of false devils - seeing an evil where none exists. A young leftist on TV claimed that the CIA destroyed the twin towers in New York. Conspiracy theorists of this sort have a double moral blindness - blindness to an actual evil combined with delusional perceptions of false devils.

One false devil that needs to be slain is the whole "war on Christmas." I'm sure you've heard about it, so I needn't go into any great lengths describing it. Don't get me wrong: I love the traditions we've received in this country that are used to hallow the Feast of our Saviour's Birth. Christmas trees from Germany (through Victorian England), Caroling from the French (again, through England), Santa Claus from the Dutch, etc. These have become such a part of the fabric of our national life that it seems impossible to remove them.

However, if people call them "holiday trees" and play "holiday music," what is it to me? They were pre-existing cultural expressions that were taken up in the service of the culture's interest. From the Middle Ages to the late Modern Era, the culture's interest was tied to Christianity (in the West, at least). That is no longer the case. So these cultural artifacts go back to doing what they've always done: reflect the culture. (And serving the crumbling gods of this age: Mammon.)

But Christians (or at least churchy-folk) get so tied up in who's not displaying a nativity scene, or who is giving equal time to other religious winter-time traditions, that we have no time to deal with the real evil: the war on Christ's Mass. We demand that the stores have ol' Saint Nick (though we do not even recognize him as the sainted Bishop of Myra), play Christmas Carols (preferably in muzak so we needn't be haunted by the words), and say "Merry Christmas!"

But most of these Christmas Commandos (in America, at least) neglect the holy preparation of Advent. Many churches aren't even open on Christmas Day for services! Remember what happened in 2005, when Christmas was actually on a Sunday? ("It'd be such a burden when we have all the family in." Wait, didn't Jesus say something about family values?)

And then the season of Christmas is abruptly over on 12/26 (National Return-the-crap-you-got-for-that-XBoxGame/Sweater-you-really-wanted Day). Where is Holy Innocents (c'mon, Prolifers!!!)? Where is Holy Family? Where is Epiphany? Where is Candlemas?

If anybody has been waging a war on Christmas, it's the Christians...the people who cram so much secular stuff into our commemoration of Christ's Nativity that we fail to leave room to prepare our hearts, our families, and - dare I say it - our churches and communities to welcome the birth of the King who comes in humility. And the atheists know it.

Which brings me to my second point. Plato said that courage is a combination of knowing what not to fear, combined with perseverance in opposition to that which is harmful and evil. This is where our insistence on playing the game of the Christmas War has really cost the church a great deal. In November, video game sales increased 10% (nearly $3 BILLION dollars, adding to the previous $19BILLION spent in the preceding months).

Let's put that in perspective. While we're swilling away our eggnog and CokeZero, over 1.1 billion people on the planet (17% of the earth's human inhabitants) can't even drink the water they have locally. Every 8 seconds a child dies from a water-borne disease. Did you know that for less than $10 billion dollars, the entire world could be given safe, clean drinking water? Thank God some people still know what to do with our national largess.

You've still got a week. Make this Christmas count.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Twelve Doctrines of Christmas

Not entirely correct (e.g., "credo baptism"), but hilarious nonetheless.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Standing on the Promise in Advent

Scripsit +Doc Loomis:
Advent 1: A description of ugly things to come is followed by this...."when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near" I'm standing...anyone else? I have to do a hymn parody.
Clyde McLennan - Standing on the promises .mp3

Found at bee mp3 search engine

Standing on the promise
after Christ the King!
Advent is upon us,
Carols we shall sing!
Gloria in excelsis
and the bells that ring
Go away until that Christmas Day!
Waiting! Waiting!
Waiting for the Promised One who's Israel's Savior!
Waiting! Waiting!
I'm waiting for the coming Son of God!