“Christmas has become too commercial or too secular” – that has been the accusation for at least a half or three-fourths of a century, if not longer. Linus instructed the “Peanuts” gang in the true spirit of Christmas in the classic television special “A Charlie Brown Christmas” in 1965.
Without a doubt, we do have a problem with regard to overemphasis on materialistic values – year-round, not just in December.
That’s an observation that can be supported regardless of whether the analyst is religious or a freethinker. It’s hard to argue the claim in a time when people get into fights in their zeal to purchase the Next Big Thing the instant it goes on sale.
For centuries, Christians and non-Christians around the world joined together to celebrate the holiday.
Nobody made much over whether it was a legitimate spiritual occasion or a pagan ritual; nobody worried about whether Jesus was actually born on Dec. 25; nobody got his or her nose out of joint because of a perceived exclusion or slight.
Or perhaps a lot of people did quibble or pout, and we simply did not have the mass media to spread their malcontented behavior to the rest of us. Ignorance really was bliss.
There’s no practical or politically correct reply to the anti-Christian element and their scorn. Some people today would construe something as innocuous as “Sorry about that; guess you’ll just have to live with it” as bullying or a terroristic threat.
There is, however, a response to Christians who have become disenchanted or worse with the holiday that is supposed to be their most sacred and special.
Be part of the solution, not part of the problem.
Don’t just be “not guilty” when it comes to the things you have come to dislike about the holiday; be what the holiday calls on us all to be – thankful, reverent, generous, joyous.
Don’t be materialistic and don’t be influenced by those who, in your opinion, are excessive in that regard. Just smile, wish them “Merry Christmas” and be merry yourself, regardless.
Make some small gesture to make someone else’s day a little brighter, such as paying for the order of the person behind you in the drive-through line.
Or, if you have deep enough pockets and sufficient motivation, do what some anonymous person did in Durango, Colo., recently – go into a local department store and pay off all the layaways.
Whatever, if you have any regard for Christmas and the spiritual basis for the holiday, don’t let the negativism get you down. Don’t get down on the level of the real-life Grinches out there. Feel sorry for them, but don’t be sorry with them.
For each of us, Christmas can be tarnished or diminished only if we allow it to be – or help cause it to be. Choose merry.