I seem to spend more and more of my life thinking about Christian apologetics and cultural engagement. It sort of seeps into everything — filling in the gaps around whatever I’m thinking and reading about.
This has certainly been my experience this year when it comes to Christmas.
In the days of my youthful zeal I used to get grumpy at the many ‘distractions’ on offer in Christmas. (In reality, a whole lot of my grumpiness probably stemmed from having to buy presents for people — instead of just getting them like I did as a child.)
To me the tinsel, presents, indulgent meals, parties, family get-togethers, and all the rest, looked like they were obscuring the ‘true’ meaning of Christmas. Symptoms of its hijacking by consumerism. And I resented them all.
As a result, my conversational tactics were primarily oppositional. I always had my eyes peeled for opportunities to expose the lies and point to the truth that Christmas is really about Jesus.
But I’ve done an about face on Christmas — and on the sort of tactics that are appropriate.
Maybe I’m getting soft as I get older but I’m far less inclined to be so sharply oppositional these days.
For all their ability to hypnotise, I’ve come to see the good in the ways we celebrate at Christmas. (And maybe that’s their problem — not that they’re bad but that they’re too good, and our hearts too ready to wrap themselves up in them.)
And so rather than attacking the trappings of Christmas, this year I’m going to try to enjoy them in a way that acknowledges the coming of Jesus at their heart — and highlight that in my conversation.
What tactics will you adopt this Christmas?