Is there a Christ in Christmas? (Yes...it's there...the first 6 letters...duh)
That warm feeling as Christmas comes - is it a love for God? Is it comfort in the faith that the lord jeebus came down to earth and healed people from stuff and taught us how to live?
No - I think it's a time to remember your loved ones, to be thankful for all the great things about your life, to be grateful. And to watch the Muppets.
Spare a moment to get in the Christmas spirit with me...
No moment of a film has made the real meaning of Christmas so clear to me. There is hardly a mention of Jesus or the Christmas Story in the whole film...as far as I can remember. Yet It's a Wonderful Life is voted #1 Christmas film in polls again and again. It shows that Christmas is a time to remember your family and friends, and loved ones and all that stuff. Therefore, I am right.
So when people say "Oi, Christmas is about Jeebus, stop that Coca Cola advert rubbish, stop the presents, stop father christmas and stop sinning" etc etc, say to them ....I dunno, some wise retort. Something along the lines of "pah, Jesus was a gay anyway"
I jest of course, I find the Christian Christmas warming too. But it's not my Christmas. My Christmas is different. And I love it.
When I did go to Church at Christmas (at All Saints Staplehurst), we had a lovely vicar named Brian. (He was so great, we used to watch The Life of Brain at youth group.) In Christmas sermons, he would hardly mention the Christmas story but concentrate on making it an enjoyable sermon for everyone. He would make 'dad jokes' and get the the kids to compete about who got up earliest.
The last time I went to a Christmas service at this Church was a revisit to Midnight Mass about 5 years ago, maybe less. Brian had gone and was replaced by Jill (A WOMAN?! AND HER SON WAS GAY!? JEEZ, SOMEONE'S GONNA BURN!) Her sermon after joyous carol singing to a packed out Church was about burning in hell if we sinned. Lovely. God bless us, every one.
Let's keep Christmas how it should be - loving and yes, cheesy. And full of Christmas cheer. Let us SHUN Christian Voice buffoon Stephen Green for complaining about Doctor Who (info here) and let us raise our voices and shout in unison "We are atheists and we love Christmas!"
Scrooge hated Christmas at the beginning of A Christmas Carol yet he still had a good point -
"Nephew!...Keep Christmas in your own way, and let me keep it in mine"
So in conclusion, keep Christmas as you like it. This is how I like it, but I'm not going to complain if someone likes it a different way. And I will be watching Doctor Who.
Now come and stand under the mistletoe with me.
I'll leave you with this -
Christianity did not come with tidings of great joy, but with a message of eternal grief. It came with the threat of everlasting torture on its lips. It meant war on earth and perdition hereafter.
It taught some good things--the beauty of love and kindness in man. But as a torch-bearer, as a bringer of joy, it has been a failure. It has given infinite consequences to the acts of finite beings, crushing the soul with a responsibility too great for mortals to bear. It has filled the future with fear and flame, and made God the keeper of an eternal penitentiary, destined to be the home of nearly all the sons of men. Not satisfied with that, it has deprived God of the pardoning power.
And yet it may have done some good by borrowing from the Pagan world the old festival called Christmas.
Long before Christ was born the Sun-God triumphed over the powers of Darkness. About the time that we call Christmas the days begin perceptibly to lengthen. Our barbarian ancestors were worshippers of the sun, and they celebrated his victory over the hosts of night. Such a festival was natural and beautiful. The most natural of all religions is the worship of the sun. Christianity adopted this festival. It borrowed from the Pagans the best it has.
I believe in Christmas and in every day that has been set apart for joy. We in America have too much work and not enough play. We are too much like the English.
I think it was Heinrich Heine who said that he thought a blaspheming Frenchman was a more pleasant object to God than a praying Englishman. We take our joys too sadly. I am in favor of all the good days--the more the better.
Christmas is a good day to forgive and forget--a good day to throw away prejudices and hatreds--a good day to fill your heart and your house, and the hearts and houses of others, with sunshine.”