‘Twas the Fight Before Christmas

For me, Christmas has become a fight in recent years.  It’s not so much a wrestling with why we celebrate Christmas, but more of a struggle with how we celebrate.

As a musician, the Christmas season starts early and runs right up until the day itself.  It is busy, to say the least.  But during the hectic schedule a dull, unexplainable feeling of melancholy, mixed with despondency, settles over me.  I have a hard time shaking it and it usually runs right up until the New Year.

I’m beginning to piece together some of the reasons why I believe this happens.  After conversations with a friend of mine, and listening to others who seem to have this same struggle, I can now at least begin to formulate my theory as to why this affects me the way it does.

1.  A lot of has to do with the way Christmas is celebrated.  There is a strange mix of the spiritual and the commercial that seems to plague our culture.  Sure, Christians celebrate Christmas primarily marking the birth of Jesus.  But then those same well-intended pilgrims turn right around and dive deeply into the secularism and commercialism that surrounds us.

2.  It seems that our methods of celebrating the season, especially in the church, have become rote and ritual.  There are always the obligatory Christmas musicals, cantatas and Broadway-style productions.  We have carol and candlelight services, eat food and perhaps, launch a few ministry-based functions to help those less fortunate.  Then we go about our “business as usual” the rest of the season.  There seems to be a disconnect.

Are we entertaining or enlightening?

3.  We sing the same familiar songs yet we never really ponder why we sing them.  Tradition?  Repetition?  And why do they all seem to focus on the central theme of the birth and not move past that event in their scope?  Isn’t there a depth to Christ’s coming that we totally miss in that regard?

4.  We surround ourselves with friends and family.  We buy gifts for friends and family.  But do we ever look around us at those who are desperate for love and in need at this time of year?  Christmas only heightens the sense of “being without” for those who are lonely or cast aside.  What can we do to shift the focus from presents to people?  And I’m not just talking about tossing in a few dollars for a needy child, that’s all well and good.  But what do we do as individuals to minister to those we pass on the street or meet in the mall?

5.  Can we, as believers, with moral integrity and intellectual honesty, continue to mix Santa and Jesus?  What kind of message does that send to our children?  What are we teaching them to observe?  If Mary and Joseph did without that first Christmas, why do we feel like we must indulge?  Isn’t part of the Christmas message rooted in the lack of provision for them as they lodged for the night?  The fact that Christ was born more as a pauper than a Prince?

I believe Matthew 6:19-24 speaks to part of this struggle with Christmas and how we should respond to it as believers.

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rustdestroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

I realize I’m probably in the minority with the way I feel.  And I am certainly guilty of everything I’ve mentioned above when it comes to celebrating Christmas.  But one thing I am determined to do is to fight, fight to turn Christmas into a celebration of not only the birth of Jesus, but more so, a celebration of the way He demonstrated for us to live our lives,

4 thoughts on “‘Twas the Fight Before Christmas

  1. David, you are not alone in your “uncomfortableness” about how we celebrate Christmas. I hesitated a bit to respond, realizing that I am in the midst of doing EXACTLY what you have described to this season of holy remembrance/gratitude. I don’t/can’t lavish our family with gifts yearround, like some, but do love any excuse to give. My favorite year of giving was when we gave to specific Christian causes in their honor and all THEY got at our family gathering was news of the recipient of THEIR Christmas gift — and a MUG with the logos of the different organizations, as a reminder to pray for those ministries–IMB, Ark Bapt Children’s Home, NOBTS (a son-in-law was Chman of the Bd of Trustees), a local homeless shelter, etc. I’m drinking coffee from my mug this morning–with warm memories of the joy of giving. But, in the midst of that, I must cut short MY musings to finish wrapping packages and finish preparations for a family gathering later today. I am extremely grateful for family and, once again this season, already trying to figure out how to “do” Christmas better next year. “Better,” so as how NOT to lose Baby Jesus and the significance of his birth […and life…and death…and (hallelujah!) resurrection] in the midst of strewn wrapping paper and turkey carcass.

    David, thanks for your Momentary Musings –truths, such as today’s, which will ruminate in my mind longer than momentarily. Well said! Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!


  2. Thank You for this blog, You may be in the minority, but know that you are not alone. I thought I was the only one who feels this way. Thanks for sharing your heart and encouraging us to fight. I also received your new CD for a Christmas gift. It is wonderful! Praying you will be strengthened and encouraged as you minister thru writing and music.


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