Dear Secular Christmas,
It’s time for a divorce.
Time for Secular Christmas and The Celebration of Christ’s Birth to make a clean break.
We have tried so hard to make this marriage work. But this is no longer a partnership.
I can’t help but feel I am in your shadow. I don’t know who I am anymore. Other people certainly don’t.
They no longer think of us, they think of you. It’s all about Secular Christmas. The Celebration of Christ’s birth is nothing more than an afterthought, an opening act for the featured performer.
We have tried. We’ve gotten folks to spout catchy slogans like “Jesus is the Reason for the Season,” and “Keep Christ in Christmas,” but then those same people relegate me to a manger scene obscured by the glittery glut of garish decoration and an hour of church to endure on Christmas Eve.
The baby in the manger has been overshadowed – and then some – by You Know Who.
Ho ho ho.
He has come between us. I do appreciate those pictures of Him kneeling at the manger, but those ultimately cheesy portraits are really just an acknowledgment that He’s been inserted into a story in which He doesn’t belong.
It’s not your fault. It’s not even His fault. It’s what people have done to Him. They’ve made presents more important than giving, made gifts under the tree more important than the gift in the manger.
Let’s not quarrel over property. I’ll move out. You can have December 25. In fact, you can have all of December. And November. All the time after Halloween. No one thinks of me during those ever-extended months of preparation for your celebration.
Speaking of preparation, I’ll take Advent with me. Poor Advent is even more neglected than I am. The first Sunday in Advent used to be the beginning of our season, a celebration of hope.
Now your season gets going on Black Friday, an avaricious orgy counter to everything in my story about a single mother’s poor family in an occupied country.
I can move to July. No one knows what day or month Jesus was born, anyway. The end of December was a former pagan celebration. That seems an appropriate place for you to stay.
It think I’ll be happy in the summer. Lots of churches have “Christmas in July” services already. There are no holidays between Memorial Day and Labor Day*. So if I move to the end of July I’ll have plenty of room.
You can keep all the “Christmas traditions” that have nothing to do with me even though people have retroactively tacked on spiritual meanings for Christmas trees and presents and so on. Those explanations are really just rationalizations for materialism, not just inappropriate but the very opposite of what I’m about.
You can have Him, too. I do love him, especially the generosity and joy for which He originally stood. But because of what people have done to Him, He belongs more with you than with me.
You can certainly have that nasty little spy, The Elf on the Shelf. You can have him and his subversive message that Christmas really is about getting stuff if you’re good, not God giving us a Savior even though we’re not.
I am sorry our marriage didn’t work out. I’d say, “It’s not you, it’s me,” but really, it’s not either of us.
It’s funny, you know. People talk about “The War on Christmas” like it’s people who don’t believe my story who are the problem.
The Celebration of Chirst’s Birth
*An alert reader pointed out that Independence Day falls between Labor Day and Memorial Day. I am embarrassed by that omission, but even more embarrassed that the alert reader is Canadian. The point is still valid – the end of July or beginning of August would work nicely as a place for The Celebration of Christ’s Birth to move. The Unexpected Pastor regrets the error!