Monday, December 22, 2008

Who stole Christmas?

According to reliable reports coming in from the fictitious town of Whoville, it is now an indisputable fact that the Grinch has stolen Christmas! Reported sightings of the ‘mean green monster’ carting away all the presents belonging to the entire town, have created an extreme sense of disillusionment amidst speculations that this might be the worst Christmas on record. As the self-appointed investigator representing “Whoville,” and with all due respect to the masterpiece penned by Dr Seuss in 1957, I am amending the story ever so slightly. In the new version, the Grinch doesn’t just cart away the presents of the Whovillites (or Whovillians, depending on what part of the country you’re from), he messes with the adjustable mortgage rates so that there are unprecedented reports of home foreclosures. He destabilizes OPEC and the Middle East so that there are inflated oil prices, resulting in a snowball effect of increased prices on gas, groceries, utilities, rent… and the list goes on and on.

Hold up, wait just one second! I think I’m mixing the stories up. It wasn’t the Grinch who stole Christmas, it was you and I. How did we steal Christmas, I hear you ask? Well, simply by buying into the deception that Christmas is all about gifts and presents, and about being as pretentiously sweet as possible (just until the season is over). That is an illusion! By definition, an illusion is the art of deception by producing a false or misleading impression of reality. In believing the illusion that Christmas is about presents (even though we aren’t the ones being celebrated), many of us will go into debt before the season is over, trying to compete with the Joneses next door on who can put up the most outdoor lights without blowing the transformer down the street. We will max out credit cards purchasing gifts that will be returned on Friday in exchange for other gifts that will eventually find their way to Goodwill or the Salvation Army store (we've even created a new word "regifting" for the category of people that will give away a gift they received, to someone else). We will gather around gaudily decorated trees and ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ at the gifts we receive (whether we like them or not), and at the end of the day, very little, if anything, will have been said about what Christmas really is about.

I hate the overindulged spending that happens at this time of year (the marketing is almost as tedious as a presidential campaign), I despise the obligatory greeting of “Happy Holidays,” and I absolutely abhor the attempts to make Christmas a secular holiday that celebrates culture more than Christ. Christmas is about Christ! Regardless of what any one says or thinks, the idea behind this holiday is the fact that Christians are celebrating the birth of our Savior, who, by His shed blood redeemed the world from sin and eternal death. Whether you believe that to be true or not does not change the facts. If you’d rather pretend that Christmas has nothing to do with Christ simply because you say happy holidays instead of merry Christmas, that’s your prerogative. But I urge you to carefully consider that stealing Christmas is not the exclusive domain of the Grinch. Too many of us, in forgetting or choosing to ignore the real reason for the season, have effectively stolen Christmas too!


Ash said...

You know it's funny, one of the things Richie and I go by, in general, is that don't make the gifts a big deal, but if you happen to think of something that would be "just perfect," then go for it, no shame in that. But otherwise don't stress trying to think of one and go commercial, it is really about Christ, about love, about carrying the same attitude all year long. Christmas should be fun and joyful, not stressful. Good post and great point!

Anonymous said...


Joseph, this is a wonderful post!! Thank you so much for it!!


Our family celebrates small with the gifts and big with our hearts. Jesus did so much for us, we want to celebrate his birthday!

Pttyann said...

Wonderfully done and well spoken,I can't hardly stand it any more.You're so right at this time of year others seem to go out of the way to be nice & kind until the day after! And what good does that do-none,we must learn to walk in the Spirit daily.

David Kovaleski said...

Thanks for a great blog. I enjoy your writings and it was great to hear you when you were here at Church at the Gate.

Joseph said...

Thank you all for your kind comments. I pray that you all have a blessed Christmas and a wonderful New Year.