Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas in America ~ By Patrice Lewis

But above all, this is the time of year when even non-religious folks are forced to remember what started it. "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."

Video provided by AlphabetPhotography ~ November 17, 2010

In her column, Patrice Lewis expresses the fact that even the secularized parts of the Christmas season isn't all that bad of a thing. She writes, "In some ways, Christians have the best of both worlds at this time of year." In other words, the Christian reason for the season can still be celebrated along with the holiday festivities and decorations.

Christmas in America

By Patrice Lewis

December 25, 2010 ~ 1:00 am Eastern

© 2010

During the weeks leading up to Christmas, there have been a lot of complaints about the ever-increasing commercialization and secularization of this most holy holiday. These concerns are justified, of course. We've also heard far too many reports of ridiculous and absurd restrictions on expressing Christmas joy.

But I'm about to give you a different spin on the subject.

In the introduction to the photo essay "Christmas in America," the publishers wrote: "Just when the air turns frosty and the days shrink into darkness, the Christmas season arrives in America. It begins at Thanksgiving – with families, feasts and football. Then, during the next six weeks we shop and decorate, worship and make merry. Our hearts warm in the winter cold. We find compassion for strangers, and we remember there are miracles. Pious or festive or both, we join together in an extraordinary national festival."

These words neither condone nor condemn the sometimes excessive celebrations, both religious and secular, that take place during Christmas. And, frankly, I don't mind the celebrations, either.

Everyone from conservative Christians to tree-hugging greenies find the consumerism of Christmas offensive. But, in some ways, I find it wonderful. You see, I think it's rather grand that an entire nation can turn itself over for a giant party once a year.

Granted, we live on a farm far away from urban lights. We are surrounded by quiet, devout people who fully recognize the importance and significance of Christ's birth. When we want a dose of holiday hubbub, we go to the city and stroll the sidewalks. Then we drive home again to our quiet rural life.

But the hustle and bustle, the parties and the stores, the decorations and the lights – are these such bad things? Let me explain what I mean.

Like it or not, Christmas has become a secular holiday for many. But no matter how much it's corrupted by the Scrooges who try to squelch any expression of godly cheer, true Christians will never lose sight of the reason for the season. In some ways, Christians have the best of both worlds at this time of year. We have the holy contemplation and devout reading of the Gospels to celebrate the Gift we are given, and we also have the fun of jingle bells and decorated homes and pretty stores when we're in the mood for something festive and lively.

In other words, Christians are automatically granted a richness and depth to Christmas that secular celebrators cannot even begin to fathom.


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