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11.19.2004    |    "Happy Holidays"
The so-called "Holiday Season" has started. It seems to start earlier with each passing year. This year we received our first Christmas Holiday catalogs back in August. Christmas decorations, as in, red- and green-themed glitz, have been visible in stores for weeks now, and it's only mid-November.

I truly hate how the Advent of our Savior has come to be celebrated in the public square. It has become a frenzy of shopping, forced merrymaking, and almost an enforced secular holiday. As opposed to the Mass for Christ that it was in pre-modern times.

Nothing against celebrating His birth, of course. This is truly a joyous occasion, but the gifts of the Magi were to the greater glory of God. What is the meaning of that bauble you buy for your honey? Somehow it isn't quite for His glory, is it?

Then there's that whole "peace on earth, goodwill towards men" stuff. Again, great sentiment, if it could just last a few moments past New Year's Day. And the annual charity appeals, such as the New York Times long-standing "Remember the Neediest" campaigns. All good things, but, increasingly divorced from the Advent of the Prince of Peace. Jesus? Who's that?

One of the more annoying things to believers has to be the expansion or proliferation of competing holidays such as un-scriptural Chanukkah and the totally invented Kwanza. I'm certain that Hindus, Buddhists, and other pagans have their own version of holidays set around the time of the Winter Solstice.

It is obvious that the non-Christians had and continue to have some sort of holly-envy. Hey, what's with this merrymaking? We want in. Not that what we now think of as "traditional" Christmas decorations have that much, if anything, to do with the birth of Jesus. After all, there is some thought that we celebrate Jesus' birthday as December 25 not because he might actually have been born on that date, but because that was also the pagan celebration of the birth of the "sun god", Saturnalia.

This just might have been good proselytzing in the early church; bring those heathen pagans into the pews (did they have pews back in the early days?). The serious point is that the actual date is not important. Simply does not matter. What matters is His advent, and the promise that His cradle will give way to His Cross and thence His Crown. December 25 is as good as any other date (or January 6 in the Eastern church).

So, what's a believer to do? Relax, enjoy the season, and understand that most people mean no harm in the way in which they celebrate the birth of the Savior. But never, ever, lose sight that we should always be watching for His coming -- not just for a few weeks at the end of the year.

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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.