Tis the season to be jolly.
And tis the season for Christians to be mad in the midst of so much mirth.
I get the critiques. I understand that Christmas is about Christ and not about Santa. I resonate with the call to simplify the holidays. I appreciate the warning against needless gift giving. I see how burdensome it all can be, especially for moms. So I have no problem with anyone who chooses to jump off the super-sized, industrial-strength Christmas bandwagon.
Just don’t be censorious about it.
It seems like every time Christmas rolls around, a couple rage-against-the-Christmas-machine blog posts go viral. The kind that blast Christians for ruining everything with commercialism, toys made in sweatshops, and too many reindeer games. For a season that’s supposed to be full of joy and peace, we can be awfully angry and confrontational this time of year. Downright grinchy at times.
Do you or your kids like Santa? Get rid of him. Pronto. He’s fake. He’s not the point. He’s obese and his name is an anagram for Satan.
Do you buy toys for your kids? Stop it. They don’t need them.
Are you into Christmas trees? So were the pagans. Fuhgeddaboudit.
Happy Holidays? Not in my face you don’t. Merry flippin’ Christmas, Walmart Greeter.
Do your parents spend too much money on the grandchildren? Shame them for not buying a cow in your name.
Don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of helpful ways we can make Christmas less crazy and lots of practical tips for putting Christ back in Christmas. But glaring at the happy Whos down in Whoville is not one of them. As Christians, we have more to celebrate than anyone. We don’t need to lock up Donner and Blitzen to show that Christ is preeminent. Just like Lewis didn’t have to shut out Father Christmas from Narnia to make Aslan great. If you can’t stand one more minute on Amazon, or one more Barbie, or one more mention of Zuzu’s petals, feel free to keep out all the noise, Noise, NOISE! But don’t furrow your ardent brow at your brothers and sisters with all the lights, all the sweets, all the nostalgia, all the campy cartoons, and all the presents under the tree. They will probably be at the Christmas Eve service too. They will probably give to the Christmas offering. They will probably sing hymns and carols around the tree. They probably haven’t forgotten Jesus.
There is a time for fasting in the Christian life and a time for feasting. The Old Testament teaches us that. And so does Jesus. If Western Christianity is selfish and bloated, let us be the first to say so and the first to show a more excellent way. But let us be the last to use the occasion of the incarnation for moral preening. If the disciples were to rejoice when the Bridegroom was with them, surely we can do better than to be outraged sourpusses every year when we commemorate his coming.