Every year about this time, I’m torn. On the one hand, I love to celebrate the most wonderful, joyous, miraculous event in human history: God condescending to become an infant, born into poverty to an exiled couple to teach us how to live and to save us from ourselves – as the song goes, “Born to raise the sons of Earth, born to give them second birth.”
That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.
Then there’s the other Christmas: mindless shopping, gluttonous hyper-consumption of just about everything, depression, suicide, traffic jams, Hallmark romance movies, massive debt, and so many other wonderful American holiday travesties.
Are we crazy? The answer is yes.
We have a terminal case of Christmas cognitive dissonance. We talk about peace on earth, but are willing to rip our neighbor’s throat out to get the latest overpriced fad in the toy store. (One that will be broken and forgotten before the end of January.) We boo and jeer Mr. Potter in “It’s a Wonderful Life” then we elect him president. (Don’t deny it. The resemblance is unmistakable. You can throw the pre-conversion Scrooge in the mix, too. Don’t condemn him if you vote for his doppleganger.) We sing along with “Silent Night” but don’t spend a single moment–morning, noon, or night–in silence.
How did this happen? How did the commemoration of the birth of Christ turn into a glorification of all that He opposes? Where are the love, peace, and joy so many sing about but rarely experience?
I don’t have the answers to these questions, but I know Someone who does.