I have NEVER in my life felt more apathetic about Christmas.
Before I go any further, I have a disclaimer:
Since I can remember putting sentences together...I have LOVED the decorations, the surprises, the Christmas story and of course Santa Clause. Who doesn't, right?
My mom and dad once let me sleep in their bed on Christmas Eve. I kept asking when? WHEN was Santa going to come? I couldn't sleep. Then I heard a knock-knock-knock. A tapping. Apparently reindeer had landed on our roof! (Or dad was tapping on the nightstand. Maybe.) best. night. ever. MAGIC.
However. Now I'm over 2000 miles from our hometown. From SNOW. From my amazing parents. From my awesome little niece and 4 nephews. From 8 of my 9 siblings. (My sister will come down, and for that I'm pretty dang grateful.) Now it just doesn't seem as important.
Maybe it's 'cause I'll be thirty next year. Maybe it's part of being an adult.
Maybe it's just cynicism.
Then there's the fact that I'm some 8000 miles away from father of my children.
The thought of waking up Christmas morning without him...eh. I don't even want to think about it. He's been by my side for over 9 nears. I love Christmas with him.
So...I get that I am jaded this year. I'm not looking for pity. I'm definitely not trying to taint the season.
But here's what's bothering me:
The harder I try to find meaning in this holiday. The deeper I search, and the more I investigate...the less appealing celebrating it becomes.
How can we, "Put Christ back in Christmas," when He was never there to begin with?
I mean. I get that He is everywhere. But this is not a biblical mandate we're talking about. Is it?
Why try to reclaim something that was a horrific, disgusting, and representative-of-Christ-in-no-way, celebration? (Saturnalia and Yule.)
I guess it's kind of like what Churches do for Halloween celebrations. And on one hand; it makes sense. I see the heart, I see the logic.
I just can't get over...
The Christmas tree. Mistletoe. Filling stockings. Even giving gifts. They are all pagan rituals for this season.
(Holly, evergreen and mistletoe were all worshiped and thought to bring fertility. Kissing under the mistletoe was no joke baby.)
My very scientific research tells me:
Nicholas, bishop of Myra was worshiped by German and Celtic pagans. I know that he was a great guy according to history. But worshiping him is not so great. These pagans celebrated his death by giving gifts on December 6th. (Along with worshiping gods like Woden and Thor.) After some time he merged with the god Woden, gained his warmer clothing, a beard and a flying horse. Later, the Catholic church adopted this celebration of Nicholas, and changed the day of giving gifts to the 25th.
Washington Irving (author of Rip Van Winkle) wrote Knickerbocker History. In it he mentions the guy riding on a flying horse, Saint Nicholas.
A few years a later, Clement C. Moore wrote Twas the Night Before Christmas.
Santa was getting better by the minute.
Sometime in the 30's Coca Cola ran an ad campaign featuring Santa drinking soda. When coming up with the ad, the thing they were most concerned about...was making sure his suit was, "Coca Cola" red. While he had been presented in those colors a few times before; I think the Coca Cola company solidified what is now his image today.
- "Christmas," is a Roman Catholic word. "Christ +mass."
- Christmas was too pagan for the pilgrims. They didn't celebrate it when they came to America in 1620. And actually outlawed it for about 20 years (from 1659-1681).
- Most historians think Jesus was born in September. It seems lame to stage the nativity with snow. With the star above the stable. And, with a Hebrew family as pale Ronny Howard. Do artists still think I won't relate to Him, because His skin is darker than mine?
- The early Roman church almost always absorbed the pagan rituals and gods of newly converted.
- Even after Martin Luther started the Reformation...paganism was still a part of church life.
It just makes me want to take my ball and go home. I don't really want to play anymore.
I don't get it.
I love the family gatherings.
I love giving gifts.
More than anything...I LOVE remembering the frail, beautiful, very real way my savior came to earth. I love thinking about Mary and Joseph. I wish I could have been there. I thought I was clueless with my firstborn! Can you imagine? A girl. Holding our Savior, knowing He was supernaturally placed in her arms that day. Giving birth by herself. perfect.
I know that if we never participated in anything that was once wicked...well, we would never take part in anything. I know that the reality is, we are all depraved. That nothing but Grace will restore us.
But, today...I just don't feel compelled to put, "Christ" back anywhere. He's right where He's always been. For some reason...it seems degrading to try and squish baby Jesus into our, "holiday" traditions. I would love for my Savior to be remembered. I would love for us to have a sacred day to remember His birth. But to try and take traditions and (or more aptly) rituals that were all about self-gratification, idol worship, and murder...and say that they were,"Christian" to begin with. It seems wrong. It seems deceitful.
Maybe next year will be different.
Guess I'll just enjoy the food. Cherish the new friendships and family God has placed in our lives this year. Take my cues and remember the beauty of baby Jesus.
And, then come Palm Sunday...get really excited!