Posted by: AJ Demers | December 31, 2016

A Holiday That Never Was – Or Is?

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Going into a retail store the day after Christmas is often interesting in an unconventional way. The same location that was full of holiday decor, festive (if not great) music, and displays geared towards Christmas is now more ordinary. Gone is the holiday decor, the piped-in music is back to its usual self, and the seasonal displays are all 100% Valentine’s Day.

If you didn’t know any better, you might conclude that Christmas never was. Thankfully, that’s never the case – Christmas did originally happen over 2000 years ago. We may not know the exact date (in all honesty, the early Church chose December 25th for reasons that likely had little to do with Chrst’s birth), but we do know that God chose to come among us, and that’s what matters.

The reality that is Christmas is still here today, even if you have to get past a lot of superficial trappings to see it. Honestly, I think that maybe many of us have gotten so hung up on making Christmas primarily about the details of Jesus’ Nativity that we miss out on the larger picture. The Incarnation is about Jesus as God with us, not just as a helpless infant, but as a teacher, a world-changer, a redeemer.

Many who keep their decorations up past Christmas, listen to Christmas music after that point, or otherwise don’t get into the spirit of things before Christmas might feel odd – is there a place forr less conventional celebrations? Yes, absolutely, after all, what happened at Christmas was for everyone, not just those who do things “conventionally.” We don’t need to let the excess noise associated with the retail season get to us, unless we allow it to.

Part of “being in the world, but not of the world” poses a unique challenge for Christians. While we reoice in and in many cases share winter holidays with those who celebrate differently from us, we also have traditions that are Church-specific. No matter how visually impressive or attention-getting, retail and other secular or interfaith ways of celebrating the season provide a different framework.

Far from being part of the proverbial Christmas wars, embracing the Incarnation should help us see that God gave us this time of year to celebrate it with joy. God called all of creation good, so it’s reasonable to see the whole winter holiday period as a holy occasion. Maybe seeing this season as holy is a perfect way to appreciate it for what it ught to be.

Remember, despite what the retailers and pop culture would have us think, the Church season of Christmas doesn’t wrap up til January 6th. If you still feel like being merry, go right ahead, you won’t be “weird”. You’re in good company, especially seeing that our Orthodox friends celebrate on January 7.

Let us go forth into the world and REJOICE in Christ’s Incarnation


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