Saturday, December 25, 2010

So this is Christmas

I have so many mixed feelings about this holiday. It's hard for me to just embrace it completely due to how it originated and the evolution it has gone through over the years.

Some people say that we celebrate on December 25th because we don't know the real date and I get that to a point. We have a cousin that's adopted. Her birthdate isn't known, so they celebrate her gotcha day as her birthday. But, December was chosen so the Christians would have an excuse to party like their nonbeliever friends were in their celebration of Saturnalia and Juvenalia. And the Christians did party. Raucously.

We can thank Washington Irving and Charles Dickens for many of the Christmas traditions that Americans consider holy. You can thank the Victorian Era for the idea of giving your children gifts for the holiday. If you read the story of the birth of Jesus from the actual Bible, you realize really quick that the church has woven together their own version of what happened and as usual, our version is not Biblical. What is sad is that many people who claim to be Christians would rather fight about keeping Christ in Christmas than follow what He taught.

I do know that the Son of God came to earth, shed His glory, and became human. That is a miracle, but it is a miracle that should be celebrated everyday. I'm as guilty as the next person for not doing that.

My favorite Christmas book is The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson. It does a great job at pointing out, in a humorous way, how we screw up the story. This is my favorite part of the book.

They looked like the people you see on the six o'clock news - refugees, sent to wait in some strange ugly place, with all their boxes and sacks around them.

It suddenly occurred to me that this was just the way it must have been for the real Holy Family, stuck away in a barn by people who didn't much care what happened to them. They couldn't have been very neat and tidy either, but more like this Mary and Joseph (Imogene's veil was cockeyed as usual, and Ralph's hair stuck out all around his ears). Imogene had the baby doll but she wasn't carrying it the way she was supposed to, cradled in her arms. She had it slung up over her shoulder and before she put it in the manger she thumped it twice on the back.