“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…”
This is how Charles Dickens opens his classic piece, “A Tale of Two Cities.” Although he published it 161 years ago (1859) in England, it rings true for the time we are currently living in. And, not just in England, but all over the world. I, however, will focus on The United States of America.
Parents all over this great land have used some form of the phrase, “If you don’t straighten up, there will be no Christmas this year!” or “Santa doesn’t visit naughty boys and girls!” And I assure you, I have heard both on several occasions (even as early as July).
It seems that 2020 has become “the age of foolishness” when we need it to be “the epoch of belief.”
There are actually media personalities and politicians across the country calling for the “cancelation” of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Ah, “the age of foolishness” has finally been realized.
I, for one, am glad they are saying these things. Not because I believe either Thanksgiving or Christmas should (or can) be canceled, but because I hope that the lunacy of these statements will open the eyes of the people and make them realize where they are putting their hope.
Thanksgiving is not just a holiday full of gluttony and football. It is a time of the year where we remember what we have to be thankful for, regardless of the hard times or difficulties we are facing.
James 1:2 My fellow believers, when it seems as though you are facing nothing but difficulties see it as an invaluable opportunity to experience the greatest joy that you can! 3 For you know that when your faith is tested it stirs up power within you to endure all things. (TPT)
I chose to use The Passion Translation because of the phrase, “it stirs up power within you to endure all things.” Other translations refer to the testing of our faith producing stamina or endurance. Those statements are true, but I am convinced that we can’t persevere to the point of producing stamina without some form of power.
I also find it interesting that those who are calling for the cancelation of these holidays are actually using the term Thanksgiving and Christmas when those of their ilk are the primary advocates of the elimination of those terms.
Why are they saying we should cancel, “The Happy Holidays?”
Because it is attack on what is Christian. There are many in the media and politics that are not just non-Christian, they are anti-Christian! So, any opportunity to turn the masses against something they are against, they will use. See the hypocrisy?
Jesus warned us that trouble would come in John 13:8. He spoke of persecution as well.
John 16:29 Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, 30 who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life. (NKJV)
But instead of recognizing that our Savior warned us these times would come, we tend to buy into the news of trouble as if it takes precedent over what scripture says, and it absolutely does not!
Thanksgiving and Christmas are not the holidays that big money retail establishments have made them out to be. They are also not what we supposed them to be based on the commercialization that has developed in the wake of this retail push.
Christmas is the time that we celebrate the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ. If you don’t celebrate that birth, if you don’t believe that birth took place, or if you believe that Jesus was just a good man like all other good men, why do you celebrate Christmas at all?
The word Christmas itself tells us what it is really all about, Christ – a reference to Jesus, and mas – a reference to mass or a service. What we should be doing is celebrating Jesus birth at church. That is what Christmas is all about.
The gift giving began with the wise men bringing gold, frankincense, and myrrh to Jesus when he was likely two years old. It wasn’t even at His birth. Therefore, the gift giving aspect of Christmas is off by a couple of years. They were celebrating the fact that the Messiah had been born, but the gifts went to Jesus not everybody who happened to be breathing.
Over the years I have attempted several times to make Christmas more reverential, more Christian oriented. So, I purchased gifts with Christian meanings. Books, Bibles, tapes/CD’s, or other Christian related items.
I made all my purchases at Christian bookstores and was really pleased that I made that choice (I’m still pleased). But the recipients of the gifts were not as pleased. No one said anything derogatory, or refused to accept the presents, but there were obvious looks of disappointment when they were opened.
Friends and family, for the most part, were slump shouldered and crestfallen when they saw what I got them. I did this as early as 1985. That is a clear sign that the meaning of Christmas has been lost for some time.
I also remember many Christmases as a child where I got big gifts, and plenty of toys and was thrilled. But at the same time if I got socks, or underwear, or soap-on-a-rope, I was as disappointed as the recipients of my Christian related gifts.
That means for at least 60 years (yes, that’s my age) Christmas has not had the meaning or impact is should or could be having. As I sit and ponder how some mortals think they have the power to cancel Thanksgiving or Christmas, I am reminded of another literary giant – Theodore Geisel (it may be a clue if I told you his middle name was Seuss).
He put it pretty well when he addressed the subject of the commercialization of Christmas and those (one in particular) who didn’t want it to happen. Through all his wrangling and manipulation, the Grinch (How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Dr. Seuss Enterprises, 1957) stood on a mountain and saw an amazing sight.
“Every Who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small, was singing! Without any presents at all! He HADN’T stopped Christmas from coming! IT CAME! Somehow or other, it came just the same!”
Use that as a reminder that these holidays cannot be stopped. There is too much behind their meanings (especially Christmas) to stop them. And remember, the original meanings are steeped in things that happened hundreds and even thousands of years ago. Or, we could observe, as the Grinch did,
“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”