Many of us expel a collective sigh of frustration at the popular level of celebration of Christmas these days. Even many outside of the Church have tired of Christmas, not because of the spiritual and religious connotations it bears, but because of the materialistic and consumeristic flavor of the whole thing. This is a fair criticism, but a mistake is made when we conclude that this is what the true American Christmas looks like. It is worldly for sure. And it is Western—no doubt. But the American perspective on Christmas is worth noting, even embracing. And it is not just about the birth of Jesus.
I hear from quite a few people that all of this amounts to us pretending to like each other for a few days of the year. That the smiles, acts of kindness and all the holiday cheer is a superficial facade that is dishonest. But I disagree. I think it is less of a lie and more of the recognition that this is the way it is supposed to be. It is a yearning to be and experience what is right—what is best. It is a recognition of the imago dei, and seeing that, even in literature, is exciting. It resonates with fallen humanity.
Understanding this helps me to better connect with the culture redemptively. I do not feel the need to fight with the world about the true meaning of Christmas. Instead, I can find common ground from which we can talk, really talk, about Jesus.
Perhaps I'm showing up way late to the party, but when a friend emailed me a link to The Church You Know, I got some good chuckles from the spoof videos they have hosted there. I had not seen these before:
Attendance: "Don't make Jesus deal with all that crap...just get to the service"
Tithing: "God knows our needs...that's why God invented the tithe...to bless us..."
WWJD: "Would Jesus spend $50,000 on a Hummer?"
Clothing: "I know a clown when I see one...do you?"
Pastors: "Thank God for the Senior Pastor...or if you're Catholic, the Pope"
Titles: One word: Reverend
Worship: "Twenty minutes to praise God...that's all we need..."
The site is designed around satirical spoofs of the NBC "Now You Know" commercials (at least I'm told...) and you can read their mission, purpose, FAQ at the site's Credo.