Well, here we go again with this “war on Christmas” thing. How dare Starbucks change the design of its holiday cups!! What were those shopping mall managers thinking when they took the Christmas trees out of the backdrop for Santa! It is easy to make fun of such silly criticisms, but behind these rather extreme points of view about the danger of Christmas slipping away, you can sense an authentic anxiety about growing secularism in the culture. It’s not so much that we are losing Christmas but that we are losing touch with the sacred. People are looking for meaning and fulfillment in all the wrong places, while houses of worship gather dust.
There’s that old cliché phrase we use sometimes: “Is nothing sacred?” We could ask that again today, in light of the overwhelming commercialization and secularization of holidays in general, Christmas being exhibit numero uno. Have we abandoned all sense of purpose beyond our own material enrichment? Is it finally true that he or she who dies with the most toys is the winner?
I’d like us to take a step back this year and re-discover Christmas by studying the sacred texts in which all of our yuletide traditions are rooted. How did lowly shepherds find their way into the story, along with high born kings, or sages from the East? What do the Christmas stories tell us about Jesus Christ himself? What does it mean to “believe” and to “have faith in” these stories today? And, perhaps most important, what would be an appropriate and meaningful way to observe Christmas that would help us restore its place in our spiritual lives? Please join me for three evenings of discussion: Wednesdays, December 2, 9 and 16 at 7:30 p.m. in the Board Room of the Massapequa Church.