Sunday, December 4, 2016

Giving Up On Christmas: The War is Over and the Church Lost

Tired of Christmas yet? All those commercials, movies, and sales, sales, sales! I felt that way a few years ago when I wrote this column.

It's that time of year again. It’s time for Christmas trees, decorations, carols, stockings, presents, eggnog—and for Facebook news feeds filling up with messages complaining about how society today has taken Christ out of Christmas.

I don't know about you, but I've grown weary of all those posts about the war on Christmas, and how Christians need to take it back.

The truth is this: The war for Christmas is lost.

Maybe the church did own Christmas at one time, but that’s no longer the case. It now belongs to shopping and seasonal sentimentality.

So maybe it’s time to admit defeat and move on.

That was the view of columnist Digby Anderson in the Spectator in 2003.

"Good generals know when it is time to give up an impossible defence and seek a more secure position to hold,” he wrote.

“It is time to give up Christmas . . . we should realize that the cause is lost, at least on this day. The 25th is no longer ours."

So maybe the church lost Christmas. But Christians still have Advent—right? At least that religious observance still belongs to the faithful.

Maybe not.

For Christians, the Advent time of waiting for the birth of the Christ child is also going the way of commercialism.

I'm not talking about the simple calendars so many families have used for decades as a low-key way to help children count down to the big day—the ones with little doors and chocolates inside.

Things have gone way past that now.

How about a beer Advent calendar? That's right: Twenty-four beers you can drink, one each day, until Christmas.

If beer's not your thing, you can buy Advent calendars that use tea, cosmetics, rum, vodka, tequila, gin, whiskey and coffee to count down to Christmas Day.

And if your kids are tired of chocolate calendars, you can buy them the Lego Star Wars Advent calendar.

Says the advertising copy: "Open up a door each December day to reveal a fun Star Wars gift, including characters, vehicles, starships and more. Unfold the playmat and battle with your collection on Hoth, Tatooine, Naboo and in space.”

Hmmm . . . maybe it’s just me, but I don’t recall anything about battles and war being associated with Advent.

In other words, it's not just the war on Christmas that's lost. The battle for Advent—which you might not have even realized was going on—is pretty much over, too.

So maybe it’s time to heed Anderson’s words and just move on. Let Christmas go. Let the world have it.

But I think I want to keep Advent. At least, until the first Advent holiday movie comes out.

Then it might be time to let it go, too.

No comments:

Post a Comment