We interupt this monthly blog to indulge in some old curmudgeon’s musings on the reason for the season. Be warned! There are no homestead updates in this post. (For you regular masochists…I mean readers…our monthly update will follow in the coming days.)
It’s Christmastime! Or, as we say in Hawaii, Mele Kalikimaka! Making merry, feasting, and full of cheer, peoples the world over rejoice over that obscure birth that kicked it all off so long ago. And still…Screwtape smiles.
But why this seemingly misplaced mirthful gesture by said creature? Well…as many of us Christians perpetuate pagan tradition by erecting evergreens inside our homes, singing of Yule logs, and regaling our children with stories of elves, others are afforded the option of altogether sidestepping the root of the holy day (even in the very use of the word “holiday”) to focus on eggnog and tinsel, tales of a magic snowman and nutcrackers and Dr. Seuss’s furry green grump, and crooner-popularized songs about snow and sleigh bells. Meanwhile, “Saturnalia” has reentered our vocabulary with an almost forced frequency and reverence of the winter solstice seems to be gaining ground in some circles. One has to wonder where this is all going…
Now don’t get me wrong. I love the secular trappings of Christmas; it’s what I grew up with here in our “one nation under God.” My collection of the holiday’s movies (including all the stop motion classics featuring the venerable Burl Ives and Red Skelton) and music (from Sinatra to James Taylor) belie my conflicted thoughts on what this season has become. We always hang stockings, and gingerbread and spiced wine always make appearances in our home this time of year. We do make a point to emphasize and hold the old traditions that more clearly identify the event that kicked it all off, though… nativities, scripture recitation, and the like.
Gifts? Sure. It is, after all, a birthday celebration. But Messiah only received three, albeit costly, gifts; and so our kids receive no more. (I wish I was clever enough to have come up with this tradition on my own, and many years ago, but I must admit that we borrowed this practice from a wise friend, an old soul, only in the past few years.)
So…set aside Snoopy and the Red Baron, don’t fret about grandma getting run over by reindeer, and fear not the latest commercial encroachment known as Elf on the Shelf as you sit back and reflect on this day.
Happy birthday, Yeshua!