Yes. It’s that time of year again…
My newsfeed is filling up with photos of over-the-top Christmas parties, food, and presents in counterpoint to anti-Christmas jibes, rants or links to fuller rants.
I’m not talking about the Santa = Satan variety of rant (along the lines of “Oooh! Look — you can rearrange the letters … and they’re THE SAME!!!”).
I’m talking about rants that are equal parts anti-Pagan Hijacking Of A Christian Holy Day and anti-consumerist.
(OK. So given the political tilt of many of my Facebook friends, the distance between these two things is sometimes thin to vanishing.)
It seems like everyone either wants to get paralytic or prophetic at Christmas time.
Who knows? Maybe this is a throwback to the early days of biblical prophecy, when it seems like the two came as a package deal.
And hey — I can sympathise with the sentiment here.
I used to be animated by something very similar to it. I would wallow in resentful misery. And, if given the chance, I’d wax wrathful at the whole pseudospiritual-capitalist complex that obscured ’the real meaning of Christmas’.
It would have been like a annual possession, except for the fact that I used to be about as much fun to hang out with all year around!
(Oddly enough, I think the period of my Grinch-y gloom began at roughly the same point in my life at which I had to take responsibility for buying/making presents for other people.)
But then I got Christmas — or rather it got me.
These days, I find myself less in the mood for grim prophecy and more in the mood to celebrate the glory of what Christmas is all about.
Although I can still happily live without the ubiquitous reindeer antlers, I’ve even started to enjoy Christmas carols.
When else does the Australian general public verbally exult in the Incarnation?
And when else do parents and children together rehearse the earth-shattering news of God the Son becoming a flesh-and-blood human being and embarking on the road into the far country as he pours himself out and is crowned with glory and honour for us and for our salvation?
Sure — there’s plenty more thought that people could put into it. And lots of ways in which we could resist the insidious consumerisation of every aspect of Christmas (if I’d had time or been better-planned this year, I would have loved to make more of the presents I’m giving).
I’m not suggesting it’s enough simply to sing songs, give gifts, and dispense Hallmark-ised ‘Season’s Greetings’.
But I do wonder if we’d win more of a hearing if we visibly enjoyed (rather than merely endured) this culturally-sanctioned opportunity to retell and reflect on the story of our Saviour’s birth?