Remember my Bah, Humbug post, in which I confessed that I don’t like the holiday season?
Since then I have come across a couple of articles that have helped with my attitude. In some cases, authors formulated what I had been thinking and trying to say far more clearly than I did. In others, I was simply forced to rethink things in a different light. Either way, I was ministered to, and I hope you will be.
“Christmas is built upon a beautiful and intentional paradox; that the birth of the homeless should be celebrated in every home.”
By Rachel Jankovic, author of Loving the Little Years (which I am currently reading and loving!)
…Christmas is the ultimate celebration of the material. Because Christmas is the time when God became man. Word to Flesh. Unfettered spirit to the hazards and joys and stresses of physical life. Think about it. Some people want to filter the material out of Christmas and morph it into some pure ethereal spirit religious day. And some people want to filter all the spiritual out of it and make it simply a holiday celebrating the purchasing power of plastic. But the power of Christmas is when spiritual and material meet. And it always has been. That is the joy of the season, that is the good news, that is the laughter and the paradox and the earth-shaking magic of Christmas. The infinite Word became a physical baby.
It wasn’t like that first Christmas was a time of quiet reflection. Mary and Joseph were on a huge last-minute trip. And she’s big pregnant on a donkey? Think of it. It sounds like the worst travel experience of all time. No room. No bed. No privacy. Baby coming. Not just any baby either — one Mary knew was the Messiah. Angels? Shepherds dropping in? You think she felt dressed for that? I doubt Mary had time to throw together a cheese platter. She was in a barn, forced to place the King of kings — her Lord — in a trough. And I doubt her livestock roommates were quite as cute as they look in the storybooks.
The truth is, that’s what it’s like when the Spiritual becomes Material. When God became Man. It’s not easy, because it turns the world upside down, a true cataclysm of joy…read the rest
From C.S. Lewis’s God in the Dock:
Three things go by the name of Christmas. One is a religious festival. This is important and obligatory for Christians; but as it can be of no interest to anyone else, I shall naturally say no more about it here. The second (it has complex historical connections with the first, but we needn’t go into them) is a popular holiday, an occasion for merry-making and hospitality. If it were my business to have a ‘view’ on this, I should say that I much approve of merry-making. But what I approve of much more is everybody minding his own business. I see no reason why I should volunteer views as to how other people should spend their own money in their own leisure among their own friends. It is
highly probable that they want my advice on such matters as little as I want theirs. But the third thing called Christmas is unfortunately everyone’s business.
I mean of course the commercial racket. The interchange of presents was a very small ingredient in the older English festivity. Mr. Pickwick took a cod with him to Dingley Dell; the reformed Scrooge ordered a turkey for his clerk; lovers sent love gifts; toys and fruit were given to children. But the idea that not only all friends but even all acquaintances should give one another presents, or at least send one another cards, is quite modern and has been forced upon us by the shopkeepers. Neither of these circumstances is in itself a reason for condemning it. I condemn it on the following grounds…read the rest
And a quote from my wise and understanding husband:
I think too many Christians stress about the (false) dichotomy between the spiritual and material aspects of Christmas. It’s a FEASTing season where we give good things to our families.
Relax, it’s OK for the kids to be excited about the food and the presents. They represent tangible manifestations of God’s blessings. When God give you are present – a raise, a bonus, a great deal on something you want, don’t you get excited? When you do that for your kids, shouldn’t they?
I think so.