I’m not a fan of the War on Christmas chatter, I’m really not. Mostly because if there was a war, it was lost over 150 years ago, when the public reacted to Dickens Christmas Carol the way it did.

Little background first…. theologically, I understand Christmas as an optional Christian holiday (with their only being 1 mandated for NT believers). In fact, I know some folks who, out of their convictions in Puritan/Reformed theology don’t celebrate Christmas at all. Which is fine, the book of Romans gives us guidelines of how one man can hold a day higher than another and our responsibility to not judge each other based on the importance we place on certain days. I’m cool with that.

But let’s get something straight here, and get some terms right. This is not Christmas season. It is Advent season. In the church year, those are two wholly separate events. Maybe those of you with Episcopal backgrounds know what I’m talking about.

It’s Advent until December 25, which has traditionally meant lots of prayer, contemplation, fasting and preparation for the coming of the Lord – a whole month of it. Christmas season is December 25th to January 5th – a time of feasting and celebration of the arrival of our Lord.

It is not the Christian’s job to take offense or to demand rights so that our god can be represented in the Pantheon with Lord Snowman and our Saviour Rudolph. Our job is to bear witness that a new light has come, in whatever way is most convenient. Just asking for another place at the table isn’t what is expected at us.

The world at large likes Christmas season for some reason: the lights, the presents, an opportunity to remember the least of these, and so on. That’s good. We should find an opportunity to ask them why they like it, not to shame them that they don’t have a creche in the lobby or get huffy that they don’t know the ‘real reason for the season.’ If Advent is the season that we remember that the Lord came to a dirty, shitty animal pen, we shouldn’t act like we’re better than that.

At the founding of America, there was no general Christmas season or general public recognition of it. The Reformed, Congregational, Presbyterian, who were a much larger % of the population then, barely recognized it. Those that did had quiet events in their home or church.

It wasn’t until the mid 1800’s, when the above groups lost a lot of their moorings, plus new immigrants from Europe, plus a mercantile spirit that saw a vast opportunity to sell stuff for the usual slower time of year, that Christmas left the home and church, and was celebrated during Advent season instead. That’s what cities and towns and shopping malls celebrate. They’re not celebrating the arrival of the prince of peace.

If they want to be honest with themselves and at least acknowledge what they’re celebrating has nothing to do with any time of Advent season, that’s fine with me, hope they have it.

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