Will the Grinch Steal Christmas This Year?

December 3, 2012

The Advent season has officially begun.

Cheri and I put our tree up and the decorations.  Our shopping is almost done, save that one difficult person to shop for.  Our soundtrack for the season is the record Vince Guaraldi created for Charlie Brown.  For the next month, I’ll try to not let the laundry pile up in the chair next to the Christmas tree.

But you know that in between hanging lights and caroling, a lot of people are rolling up their sleeves for another Christmas tradition, the annual Christmas culture war.

watch-the-grinch-how-the-grinch-stole-christmasYou know what I’m talking about. We’ll hear a few stories from around the country – lawsuits forcing Nativities to be taken down, or retail stores that forbid employees to wish shoppers “Merry Christmas.”

And a bunch of Christians will scream and shout that those godless heathen Jesus-haters are taking Christmas away.

It almost seems that How the Grinch Stole Christmas is coming true.

So what battlegrounds in the war for Christmas matter this year? How will the fight to save Christmas turn out?

Public Displays of Affection for Jesus

This is a primary annual battleground for diehard Christmas defenders. Nativities on public display are like lightning rods now.  The resultingnativity lawsuits usually mean that plastic baby Jesus is packed up in storage, or the shepherds are joined by some kind of anthropomorphic candelabra and crescent moon, creating some kind of United Nations of religion, equally offensive to everyone.

My verdict? This fight does not matter.  The first Nativity scene wasn’t exactly on public display in front of the courthouse.  We forget that the only witnesses to the birth really were animals and shepherds, (if anyone at all.)

You Will Wish Me a Merry Christmas

Fight number two happens in our temples of consumerist hedonism, the retail store.

Apparently at issue is the magic incantation that the depressed cashiers invoke when handing shoppers their receipt.  In order to have a merry Christmas, Christians need a random stranger who they have no connection with to verbally say “Merry Christmas.”  To substitute these sacred magic words with “Happy Holidays,” is akin to having a gypsy curse put on your head.

Being offended by Christmas seems petty and moronic to me.  So does being offended by strangers not telling you which holiday you celebrate.

My verdict for this fight?  I could not care less.  The first Christmas came, and the only ones who were saying anything about it were angels, not retail clerks.

Jump Off a Cliff

Although this isn’t a traditional part of the Christmas fight, there is the tiny issue that we may not have any money next year because the country is going to plunge over some proverbial “fiscal cliff,” which is an intentionally frightening analogy for an abstract and hypothetical economic situation.  Glenn Beck said we’d ‘definitely’ fall over some kind of cliff in 2011.  Then he said it would definitely happen in 2012.  He might be right, just under the wire.  But maybe he’s just the Pat Robertson of economic armageddon prophesy.

My verdict for the fiscal cliff: you guessed it, it does not matter.

You know, we sit our kids in front of the TV every year to watch The Grinch.  Maybe we should watch it again.

It Came Just the Same

Christians on the side of “protecting” Christmas might compare the anti-Christmas crowd to a bunch of Grinches trying to steal their holiday.

But they miss one very important plot point of the Grinch.

The Grinch takes everything from the Whos.  Every attack we can imagine on Christmas, the Grinch would have carried out…

…and yet, the Grinch fails.  Despite his efforts, Christmas came just the same.  Christmas, it turns out doesn’t come from a store (or a store cashier.)

None of the fights that will be fought over Christmas will matter, because win or lose, Christmas will still come.  We are fighting for silly traditions.  But the Savior God is still Immanuel, God with us.  There are lots of people who can tell you about years that they willingly gave up putting up a tree, or they didn’t have enough money for gifts.  And Christmas came anyway.

Don’t waste your Christmas season pursuing silly things.  Spend it pursuing the Savior.

 

13 responses to Will the Grinch Steal Christmas This Year?

  1. I find it all very odd as the Pilgrims and others who first came to this country specifically did NOT celebrate Christmas. They would find the “Christian” practice to be godless and pagan.

  2. Thank you for a voice of reason and a breath of fresh air. I plan to comment with a link to this on every facebook post that whines about any of these points. How many people are we planning to convince about God’s love by complaining?

    • Amen! And thank you :) I have heard so many people parrot useless talking points about how “they” are taking Christmas away. Really? So they are coming into your home and forcing you to not celebrate Christmas? Get a life, people.

  3. In this fairly short sermon, my pastor says that jumping immediately from Thanksgiving to Christmas is “the desperate move” :

    http://theoldadam.com/2012/12/03/what-would-you-tell-someone-about-your-church/

    It is a sign of our desperation and points to the hopelessness in our culture.

  4. I also love how people get all upset when someone writes “X-mas,” when many historians believe that the X represented the Greek “Chi,” which often was shorthand for “Christ.”

  5. Wow I should be ashamed. We seem to lose sight of Christmas through all the stuff to decorate and the food we eat and traditions we keep. When in all, Jesus’s birthday will come regardless of whether we have that nativity scene or not. I’ve got to remind myself before getting all ticky about “Happy Holidays”.

  6. Jesus never told us to remember his birth, just his death, so I agree that it is all stupid.

  7. There is definitely a reblogging of this coming very soon (not tonight, though). Keep up the great work! You are obviously hearing something from the Big Guy, the way you have been going!

    • Thank you, Daniel! I just read that a priest chastised the Fox and Friends crew on air for their overblown “War on Christmas” coverage.

      • I like that priest! I bought into the whole “War on Christmas” thing for a few months. Then, one day, I realized how off-focus the entire thing is. I did not make the Grinch/Who connection, but that is essentially it, and for so much more than Christmas: focus on serving Christ and loving people, and we already win!

  8. When we first moved to Paraguay the shock of a new culture has us reeling. Our first Christmas was odd. Being in the southern hemisphere we were in a very hot summer season but we coped. We began to notice manger scenes popping up everywhere. Locally they were called pesebres. We bought one and put it up. How cool a tradition from home we could have here as well. Then enter the evangelical community (meaning not Catholic here).
    It turns out they viewed this as a uniquely Catholic tradition and advised us to remove it so as not to give the “wrong impression.” We decided to play the “We’re foreigners” card and leave it up. Just having it managed to open huge opportunities in our neighborhood.

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