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It's Time for Christians to Take Back Christmas: A Modest Proposal
It's time Christians take back Christmas. Every year, the grumbling can be heard in the background, "What does all this rush, Santa, trees, gifts -- consumerism -- have to do with Christmas?" Many folks then attempt to try to make it all connect and meaningful -- this author included -- in some tidy, eloquent way.
Then there are those who say, "Let's just keep the Spirit of Christmas alive in our hearts through all this. We know what Christmas is all about even if 'THEY' don't."
Regardless of the gymnastics believers go through, the simple fact of the matter is this: Christians have lost control of Christmas. Consumerism has overtaken it and has become critical -- not just to the holiday, but to the overall economy. It's not called "Black Friday" for nothing. Christmas gift giving, receiving, exchanging, entertaining -- and the money required to make it all happen -- is a vital component of our economy and, hence, our American way of life. Without Christmas holiday spending, our economy would collapse. Remember '08 & '09?
Due to this symbiotic relationship, all the consumerism attached to Christmas is here to stay. Christians need to understand and accept this. But it doesn't mean they -- we -- have to put up with it. There is a way for Christians to take back Christmas without upsetting the whole applecart. In fact, it is possible to make the holiday even grander.
Consumerism and Christmas are not inherent enemies. They can co-exist quite comfortably because they are two different species. Christmas is all about belief. Consumerism is all about lifestyle.
The problem is, the two have become entangled and, therefore, both have taken on identities that are not inherently their own. They have both been soiled by their interrelationship. So let's unsoil them. Let's free them from an interaction that is ultimately unhealthy for them both.
Let's separate consumerism and Christmas.
Sound impossible? It's actually much easier than one might think. Here's how it could work:
Restore Christmas and the purity of its message to what it is -- a religious, sacred day for Christians. Give it back to us so we can celebrate the wonder and glory of the Creator's gift to us. Keep in on the 25th just because, but make it all about the manger and God's love.
After Christmas, on the 28th of December -- halfway between Christmas and New Years -- we will now have a uniquely secular celebration: Appreciation Day. On this day, we show our appreciation for those in our lives who make it all better, nicer and more fun. For them, we show our love and appreciation through the giving of gifts. Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Agnostic, Atheist -- it doesn't matter. If we appreciate them, we gift them. Pure. Simple.
Now what we will have is a consumer holiday that puts positive meaning into the act of buying and giving gifts and a Christmas holiday that is free to regain its glory and message. An added bonus is this arrangement now helps provide Jews the space they need to celebrate Chanukah on their terms.
The trees, Santa, reindeer? They all move to the 28th -- Appreciation Day. We can all decorate with lights and fall foliage because we're all showing appreciation for all that gives us joy.
The manger, wise men, the star -- those symbols regain their purity and the message of peace and good will due to the birth of Jesus.
What's surprising is how easy it would be to implement such a change. All that need happen is for Christians to take back Christmas. Celebrate the 25th as the day of Christ's birth. Celebrate the 28th as the day to show appreciation for those in your life by giving gifts.
There doesn't need to be an act of Congress. There doesn't need to be a movement in need of contributions. All that's needed is a simple shift of focus, a minor change in behavior... and timing.
Free Christmas to be Christmas and consumerism to be consumerism. Their new relationship will cause both to thrive.
So what do you say, fellow Christians? Are you ready to make things right by taking back Christmas?