I was reading a “Guest Editorial” the other day in my local paper. A guest editorial is a written comment or thought that exceeds the 500 word usual limit. You MUST be a special person (or a relative of the paper’s staff) to be allowed Guest Editorial space. I’ve tried, but knowing no one, my comments were “kicked” back and told to cut.
Anyway, this half page editorial was titled “Why a Christian doesn’t celebrate Christmas.” There was an extensive description in this article about December 25th being an arbitrary date, the pagan elements of trees, ivy, mistletoe, gift exchange, Santa Clause, retail “black Friday” sales, and on and on and on. I just grinned; I could imagine the flood of responses. I couldn’t wait to read the words ripping this article apart.
A few days later I opened to the editorial section and there was another half page editorial, signed by fifteen minsters from different churches. I dug into the article, WAIT, this is not a response, it is a letter of affirmation that these churches support a bill to re-write the State Constitution for the LGBT’s. (I’ve got a thought on this, but not now).
I pondered the quietness of the local churches on the “not celebrating Christmas” story, and decided that this must be one of those positions I’ve been hearing about, “we fight for the mountains but we can give up the valleys”: Which means we stand our ground on some issues and not on others.
Hummm, if this is what happened, I wonder which church called the other churches and took a vote that we’re giving up on celebration? Actually, that IS a very good question, just who does determine what parts of your faith you get to give up?
Naw, the lack of response probably has NOTHING to do with mountains and valleys and everything to do with saving-face, and not wanting to get into an editorial mud-slinging argument and have people look crosswise at their church. But I did secretly hope that some conservative legalistic bible thumping minister would have picked up the gauntlet.
Ok, some of you can stop reading now, because I’m about to express my ponderings. Like, I have pondered, who titled the article: A Christian that does not Celebrate Christmas? There are churches/religious organizations that don’t celebrate Christmas, that’s their right and it’s part of their understanding. But some of them don’t necessarily call themselves Christian, because they usually separate themselves from the concept of the Trinity.
Truthfully, it is very hard to go back and determine when, how or why certain traditions were adopted for/by the Christian celebrators of Christmas. And Ok, maybe a lot of these things have a pagan base, but it may have been thought that it would be easy for pagans to “slide on over” into this Christian celebration painlessly, I don’t know.
In my early life I was pretty legalistic. I pretty much was left or right, there was no middle. However, I have mellowed some, in my old age. To me the date used by churches for the Christmas Celebration is immaterial! Churches that celebrate the birth of Christ don’t really care what the date was, rather, that it happened. Churches that celebrate believe in the Trinity; that Jesus and God are one.
The celebration is the recognition that God thought enough of us to come here, live among us, and to teach us all those things we missed in the past. That is what I celebrate, that is why I am joyous and that is why I pass it on. That’s my Good Fortune, that I’m part of the family.
Go Tell in On the Mountains, over the hills and everywhere. (Don’t give up the valleys.) It is NOT about the date, it’s about the event.