you read this it is Christmas Eve. Some are glad the whole exciting season is
almost over, when, in truth, it has actually just begun.
So many distractions
come every Christmas season. Every Christmas we tell ourselves it will be different
this year; we’ll even attend church. Enjoy the choirs and hymns and remember it
is all about the coming to earth of the Prince of Peace.
Year to year,
there are those without a Christmas tree, wreath or gifts for their children.
Or as in this war, loved ones unable to be together for Christmas. When it is
the first Christmas without a loved one for the first time, the time can easily
becomes a painful experience.
For the many who are lonely and even unhappy
this Christmas, for any number of reasons, pause --- pause and reflect. At home
or church, hospital or retirement home, pause – reclaiming the “now” of life instead
of repeating “what if---?”
The Advent, or coming of the Christ to earth,
is an event in itself. The days of preparation (after Thanksgiving Day and Black
Friday) have a special meaning and preparation for Christmas. Seldom considered
is the fact that day Christmas Day is the beginning, not the end, of the celebration.
As a boy my mother never took the tree down until mid-January. Keeping alive the
spirit of the season.
In a perfect world, after the 25th of December has
passed, the parties and good deeds begin. We celebrate after, not before, the
traditional event of Christ’s birth. Just as Christ brought the promise of hope,
the season should be the revival of more hope for the future.
colleague from Denmark told of his family putting up a Christmas tree or wreaths
late on Christmas Eve. I identify with that custom. It announces something big
and important is about to take place. The family enters the next day, thankful
for the suddenness of, as well as the glory of Emmanuel, “God is with us”.
Lest this is too “sermony,” keep in mind that materialism is not going away. Don’t
let commercials interfere. Think of the joy a Santa Claus means to many children.
The simple poem ‘Twas the night before Christmas, helped make Christmas a commercial
success. But it is also one of the most moving ditties of the season.
commercial aspect is a significant part of the traditions of the season. Some
thoughtless individuals tell us there is a “war on Christmas.” Not so! Except
for disbelievers and people of other faiths, Christ is never left out of Christmas
My Aunt Mae Johnson was generally upset at Christmastime by the
use of “Xmas” for Christmas. The use of Xmas in English is not an attempt to secularize
the holiday. It actually puts Christ at the very center of Christmas.
“X” and “P” are the first two letter of “Christ” in the Greek language of Jesus’
day. Since X in English has a different meaning and use, English speakers have
mistaken Xmas as leaving Christ out of Christmas. The abbreviation Xmas expresses
ideally the heart of the celebration.
John Calvin, a great 16th century
Protestant reformer, was opposed to the bad things that were associated with Christmas.
And there were many appalling observances in many cultures and countries. But
John Calvin kept the holiday as celebration of the birth of Christ and saw it
as a matter of liberty for the churches and the individual.
It is well
known that the Puritans, in England and later New England, opposed Christmas.
Puritan pastor Cotton Mather felt there was no biblical or historical evidence
for it representing the birth of the Christ. There is no evidence, biblical or
historical for a Christmas holiday. Traditions, even if tainted with myths, are
what we make of them.
Christmas is what we choose to make it. Make it
such a good season of peace and love that it carries on into the New Year and
all the remaining years we have. Choose well.
Along the Way with
December 24, 2010 Column
Britt Towery, writer and former teacher welcomes input.
His e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Christmas in Texas