Keeping X in XMas

It happens every year. The slew of posts on Facebook reminding us all to take a stand and keep CHRIST in CHRISTmas. Don’t say “Happy Holidays–and don’t tolerate it if a department store says that instead of “Merry Christmas.” Don’t replace ‘Christ’ with ‘X’ (um…that’s the Greek letter Chi–sometimes used with Rho, sometimes not, to symbolize Christ in a history more ancient than most of us consider when we think of the church).

I’m not making fun of my friends who post such things. I get it, I do. I know that behind it all, for most people it’s a reminder that Jesus is the reason we celebrate Christmas. And that many people want to remember the Nativity and the baby born when they consider Christmas.

But I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about Christmas lately. And I’m not sure Christ actually would want to be IN Christmas the way most of us celebrate it. We’re living in an era when shoppers take guns and pepper spray when they go Christmas shopping in the middle of the night (on a holiday when we’re supposed to be thankful for what we already have, mind you) and use their weapons to ensure they are the ones who take home the best deals in merchandise. People are maxing out credit cards just to out-gift each other. We eat and eat, using the holidays as an excuse, and then remember to drop some coins in the Salvation Army bucket. We exhaust ourselves and fill our schedules with Christmas activities. We feel extra stress this season. We fight with our family members about money or parties we should attend or people we should visit. We spend and go and stress and eat…

(And I say “we” because except for packing heat or credit cards while shopping, I’m guilty of all of the above.)

And every year I try to fight it. I add devotional and study time to my days. I take time to sit quietly and ponder. I attend beautiful church services and sing and hear wonderful, worshipful music. I light Advent candles and pray. I honor family traditions and spend more time at home.

And then I get swept up again in the doings of the holiday season.

It makes me wish that I could celebrate Christmas in May and the more generic, wild, consumer-driven holidays in December.

Anyone want to join me?