Thursday, December 25, 2008

Celebrating Christmas

"God rest ye merry gentlemen.
Let nothing you dismay
Remember, Christ, our Saviour
Was born on Christmas day
To save us all from Satan's power
When we were gone astray"
~ Unknown

It's Christmas, and I feel obligated to once again point out that Jesus is the reason for the season.

My little piece of family here in Virginia celebrates Christmas in all the traditional ways.

We have Christmas lights strewn along the front of the house.

We have little white wire lighted reindeer seemingly feeding on the front lawn.

Two spiral abstract style Christmas trees, brightly lit with multi-colored lights and a plastic star on the tops.

A wreath on the door. With red lights.

A nativity scene positioned beneath a yard flag depicting an angel, illuminated by a spotlight so everyone who passes can see.

Santa Claus rocking back and forth on skis.

Of course, brightly colored Christmas lights decorating an evergreen tree out in front of it all.

Indoors, we have a tree.

Mistletoe and holly.

More lights.

Angels and gingerbread houses and snowmen and even a toy stuffed dog wearing a Santa Claus hat that sings "Jingle Bell Rock" when you press it's paw.

We will enjoy a sumptuous feast of turkey, ham, and all the trimmings. We will watch Christmas movies on TV, such as "White Christmas", "It's a Wonderful Life", "Miracle on 34th Street", a brief viewing of that infernal 24 hour marathon of "The Christmas story" on TBS, and several versions of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol".

We will listen to a day long marathon of Christmas music, featuring songs about winter, snow, snowmen, sleighs, Santa Claus, red nosed reindeer, but very few about Jesus.

And we will exchange Christmas presents, usually silly but extravagant things we don't need and sometimes don't really want. We will feign surprise or gratefulness or both.

I get philosophical this time of year. If I didn't have a family obligation to participate in all these Christmas distractions, I wouldn't. I think the appropriate way to celebrate would be to focus on the birth of Jesus, even though, as it has been pointed out, Jesus likely wasn't actually born on December twenty-fifth.

I think I'd put up a nativity scene but nothing else. And then, in a spirit of giving, perhaps spend the day volunteering at a homeless shelter or other non-profit beneficial organization.

There's really nothing wrong with all these non-nativity related seasonal distractions. After all, many have their origins in traditional Christmas celebrations.

The name "Santa Claus" is a contraction of the words, "Saint Nicholas" who was a Christian saint, for one example.

So, when you celebrate your Christmas in your own personal unique tradition, try to remember the reason for the season.

You know, it's a tragedy that we even have to remind people.


Trader Rick said...

God Bless you Mark, and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Keep up the Good work. You are a Great American and we appreciate your blog!

Mark said...

Thank you, Rick. That means a lot coming from you. Merry Christmas to you and yours as well.

Most Rev. Gregori said...

Sadly, there many people today who don't want to be reminded of the REAL meaning of Christmas.

None the less, Merry Christmas to you and yours and may you have a very blessed, safe and Happy New Year.

4simpsons said...

Merry Christmas, Mark! Thanks for speaking the truth to a world that hates to hear it.

Gayle said...

MERRY CHRISTMAS, Mark. I feel a lot like you do, which is why the only outside decoration we put up at Christmas time is an 8'x8' star to symbolize the star the Magi followed at the birth of Jesus. But I do love the Christmas Tree. It's an art form for me.


commoncents said...

Merry Christmas from your friends at COMMON CENTS!

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Merry Christmas, Mark!

Mike's America said...

Merry Christmas Mark!

I downsized the decorations this year. With Obama coming in I was too afraid the PC police might take down my name and report me to the coming Gestapo.

Dee said...

Merry Christmas Mark!!

Jim said...

Sadly, there many people today who don't want to be reminded of the REAL meaning of Christmas.

Really? Who?

Merry Christmas!

Marshall Art said...

So you DID do a Christmas post. Good. Here's my official "Merry Christmas". God's Blessings on you.

Mark said...

Did I ever say I wasn't, Art? Seriously. If I did, I don't remember, but then, I am getting forgetful in my old age.

Ms.Green said...

Merry belated Christmas Mark. Hope it was blessed.

Joe said...

I hope you had a merry Christmas and that you will have the best God has to offer in the new year!

Tonto said...

Great Post Mark! Thank you for reminding me.

And if I didn't read blog posts like yours and go to church around this time of year I would forget and this fact does not make me proud or anything but I am glad you are around to remind me and I know where your blog is.

Your post really is important and I am trying to do better now that I have my own three year old that needs to know better too.

Marie's Two Cents said...

Merry Christmas to you and yours Mark :-)