I used to get sooo uptight when people used to say “Happy Holidays” at Christmas. I do know a bunch of people who celebrate Hanukkah, those who have Sinterklaas early in December, and we were close enough to see the celebrations of Kwanzaa on TV. Whenever I was saluted with a “happy holidays” or a “season’s greetings,” my teeth would clench, and I would give a grumpy, firm, “MERRY CHRISTMAS.” After all, this is Canada’s holiday, right? Most Canadians celebrate Christmas, right? It’s those darned immigrants changing things. . .
Then I realized something huge.
Most Christmas displays, by stores, people and the media, is NOT Christmas, in my eyes. Quite simply, it is not the same holiday that we celebrate at all. So what is?
To me, and our family, Christmas is the celebration of Christ’s birth. We believe that He was born in a stable, placed in a manger by the Virgin Mary, and that He was God’s gift to the world. We believe that He still lives today, and has taken away the sin of the world, and that He loves us so much. You may not believe that, and that’s certainly your right as a Canadian (or American) but that’s what I believe. If you don’t believe that He still reigns, and that He will come back, then the whole story’s meaning is lost. The whole thing doesn’t really matter.
So what ELSE is Christmas? Well, there’s a tree, gifts, dinners, parties, Chinese gift exchanges, gifts, the season of Advent, lights, inflatable cartoon characters, gifts, music, cards, travel, and mercy, the list does go on. Oops, did I mention gifts?
We buy gifts for our families, children, friends, neighbors, people who work for us or with us, and last, but not least, are those we feel obligated to buy for. And half the time, we work hard to pay for these gifts, shop for them, watch for sales, wait in line, hear “happy holidays,” wrap them, hide them, and then say that they are from a random obese fellow who sneaks into your home at night.
Am I against Santa? Christmas trees? Big, gigantic, inflatable Winnie the Pooh’s? Umm, no. We do have a Christmas tree in our home, that comes from pagan roots, that is now THE focal part of our living room, and the bane of my existence. Well, it’s better now that I moved some ornaments off the bottom few inches, just so they are not constantly tempting our poor little girl. Never mind the Christmas snowmen, knick knacks and nativity scenes that have come out of storage. I had to give the Pretty One and I some kind of leeway. That’s just waaay too much fun stuff for her. Once she understands the rest of the room, we will balance out the Christmas tree. However, I digress.
What about big, huge, inflatable Winnie the Pooh? We just visited a house nearby that draws people from all over. People will drive for hours to see it, and it happens to be 20 minutes away. I was so excited I was BESIDE myself. HH (handsome hubby) told me three times to calm down. It the funnest, cheapest, best night, ever.
Am I against the red guy? We don’t celebrate him at all, but I appreciate that it can be fun or cute. Our kids have been taught to not ruin other kids’ lives, but unfortunately I do not control everything that comes out of their mouths. We are doing our best in this area, to not be a part of something that’s not for us, yet, to not encroach on others.
So, why am I all of a sudden completely indifferent to the “Happy Holidays”? I am starting to realize that there is two, very different holidays taking place. There are those that focus on Jesus, and those that don’t.
In our home, the kids each receive three gifts (that’s what Jesus received.) Also, one of the gifts they receive is a gift in their place. Last year we gave chickens in the boys names to kids in Brazil, and then gave the boys pictures of chickens. That was a riot. We are celebrating Advent by reading Bible passages each day. We have a few nativity scenes, no Santas. We are studying the birth of Jesus with new eyes (they’re little, so that’s actually quite simple.) We have a happy birthday par-tay for Jesus, because the kids really get that. I think that’s all that is considered CHRISTmas.
We are looking for ways to bless our friends and families, and to show them we love them. And to surprise strangers. But I think these things are supposed to be round-the-year, not just at Christmas. So really, in this we are just doing what I’ve been putting off. I can count that as Christmas, I guess. We are also doing a tremendous amount of family stuff. We are baking, crafting, creating, reading, watching movies, everything, as part of our Advent. It has been a ridiculous blast, and I can’t sleep sometimes because I am excited about the next day. But that is not CHRISTmas, more like, Christmas. I know that God is honoured through what we are doing, but it’s not completely necessary to CHRISTmas, you know what I mean? It’s terrific, it’s wonderful, it will bless others, but if you don’t do it, it’s not like it’s against the Bible.
Now, we have added to the holiday, ourselves. We have our pagan-rooted tree, which we love. We have stockings filled with junk that Mommy and Daddy will sneak from at night after the kids open them, that is certainly not based on the Bible. I think that might be pagan too. The stockings, I mean. The sneaking of the candy is actually good parenting, since we don’t want our kids to eat too much sugar. We have our gift exchanges, which are surely fun, but not really rooted in the meaning of the season. But they sure do make it fun to steal. . .
We are committed to not going over budget, because you can’t tell me it would ever be God’s plan to give something that is not really yours to give in the first place. If you borrowed to get it, it is technically owned by whoever you borrowed from. And we have met, and had personal relations, with both Mr. VISA and Mrs. Mastercard, and (it’s not gossip if it’s true) they are only in it for themselves. They don’t love you, they are not your friend. And they don’t like your family. As a matter of fact, if you die, they will go AFTER your family for the balance of the gifts they bought them. Doesn’t sound like Christian giving to me.
We do not do Santa, like I mentioned. We want to limit things we are untruthful about. I know I’m going to get enough questions in adolescence that I will have to maybe gloss over the truth a little. After all, if your records are purged when you turn 18, it didn’t happen, right? I think I’m joking, but anyways, I don’t want to start telling them things that are not true. If they can’t trust me, then I probably won’t be able to trust them. Do I care if you do? Heck, no.
Because after all, who am I to judge? We have added to CHRISTmas, ourselves, and made it our own. I believe that our basis is still on Christ, and that for the most part, we are celebrating the true meaning. If you can add Santa, or whatever, and still feel peaceful about it, go for it. It’s between you and Jesus.
But now, what about the other array of people, those who are against what we believe is the true meaning? Or may not be against, but who don’t believe? Those who are trying to eliminate the word, and really, sound quite dumb while they do it? Well, why should I care if someone calls it a holiday tree, or a mid-winter holiday? In reality, they are only acknowledging the truth- they celebrate a COMPLETELY different holiday than me. And in Canada and the US we have this freedom to celebrate whatever religion we choose. Thank the Lord, or I wouldn’t even be able to write this dumb blog that is so much fun to vent on.
So happy holidays to those who celebrate more of the secular, than the Biblical. Those that celebrate commerce-mas, or whatever they will call it. Thank you for changing the name. I’m so glad that it is actually much more clear where everyone stands. The same thing shouldn’t have a different meaning to five different people, you know. Now, maybe, twenty years from now when I say “Merry Christmas,” they will understand that this is a totally different holiday from what they are celebrating. And hopefully the Prince of Peace will shine in my face during the hustle and bustle, and it will cause them to wonder about that old, antiquated Christmas that used to be celebrated way back when. Hopefully, the name CHRIST will shine through much, much more than when it is all sheltered under the same name.
Now, we just need to get them to change the name for Easter. The Springtime Bunny? Daylight Savings Eggs? We’ll work on it. Then we don’t have to pretend that we are all celebrating the same thing then, too.
I’d love to hear your thoughts, on all of it. What is Christmas to you?