“The king of Christmas.”
That’s what some of my kids called me the other day. It’s a world-class compliment, and I way more than halfway hope they’re way more than halfway right! But surely it’s far too strong a statement.
No borderline blasphemy is intended. There’s only one King of Christmas. But, loving him, I do indeed love this time of year!
I’ve found that the more my hope is centered on the real Reason for the season and the more I focus on that marvelous mystery—“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us”!—the brighter seem all the lights and candles, the taller and more verdant the trees, the more beautiful and soul-stirring the music, and the more brimful of joy are all of the sights and sounds of Christmas.
Yes, the season may lend itself to excess, and it is often twisted and misused by those desperate for artificial joy. But that a very good thing can be badly debased does not rule out its being a very good thing. Quite the opposite! Satan is far more keen to besmirch the truly beautiful than ever he would something of much less worth.
Those who fear wholeheartedly celebrating Christmas as honoring Christ’s coming, lest the celebration become an idol, may fall to the greater danger of refusing a deep blessing from the hand of the true God. As his coming truly blesses us, so may a true and good-hearted celebration of his coming.
But it is odd, isn’t it, that those who, for whatever reason, adopt old Ebenezer Scrooge’s opinion of the season (“Humbug!”) come from such diverse camps.
Some who are irreligious are suspicious of anything that purports to be of Christ. Some whose politically correct “spirituality” is largely a matter of wispy feelings and vapors are afraid of celebrating a season that bears Christ’s name so particularly. I’d have thought our buying so many Christmas trees from China, many of which I suppose are made by Buddhists whose religion bears another name particularly, would have made the PC folks feel better. But no. It’s the name of Christ that particularly bothers them.
G. K. Chesterton once wrote that skeptic Bernard Shaw criticized Christmas as being simply “a conspiracy kept up by Poulterers and wine merchants from strictly business motives.” Laughing, Chesterton wrote that it would make as much sense to say that “the two sexes were invented by jewellers who wanted to sell wedding rings.”
No, for centuries people have found all sorts of reasons to oppose Christmas and decry its celebration. Some most stringently opposed have been those who wear Christ’s name but, wedded to the stone cold tablets of law they call their religion, won’t allow themselves to love anything that smacks of joy and color, fiery warmth and full-to-overflowing life. After all, the joy of God’s Spirit is uncontainable and unpredictable. Where might such lead? Freedom can be quite frightening!
Oh, but it is also beautiful! May the God enfleshed at Bethlehem also beautifully inhabit our souls anew in this sweet season, and may we honor the true King of Christmas with hearts fully open to his joy.
You’re invited to visit my website at http://www.CurtisShelburne.com! Blessings to you for a wonderful and joy-filled Christmas! Merry Christmas!
Copyright 2014 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.