Keep Christ in Christmas?

   I passed a car with an old bumper sticker on it. The sticker read:

   "Keep X in X-mas."

   Someone got paid for this.

   The oddest things make me think, or, more likely, I just think oddly.

    The Ghost of Will Ferrell movies past (why can’t he keep his clothes on? that is a body crying to be covered) haunts me just now. You know the one, where he is praying and continually calls on the "Little Baby Jesus." His thoroughly mindless wife reminds him Jesus did grow up but Will’s character replies, "I like him better as a baby."

   Keep the Christ in Christmas?

   Why? He didn’t stay there.

   Is there any record of His going back to the cave-stable-side of the hill in the back of the Inn?

   Did He ever speak of the Magi or the Shepherds? Someone did or we would not know but He never seemed to make a big deal of their appearances.

   He focused on His mission. He spoke openly about His death and the event afterward. Christmas? Not so much.

   I am not the Grinch. I love Christmas. I really dote on the whole season. I think optimistically pessimistic religious thoughts from just before Thanksgiving until the New Year hits, when I return to sober, reflective pessimistic optimism, born of the religious struggle to find a place for ancient thoughts in a post-modern world while remaining faithful to the text.

   My religious, semi-observant friend, Biff, is a scientist working on a process that will show medical people where damaged tissue is faster than ever, so to enable the rush of medicine to the traumatized cells.

   Or something like that.

   We grew up together, he and I. I married him to his first wife but, then, he asked me to do it. I don’t give guarantees.

   I also buried his father, brother-in-law and mother, in that order, with the able help of his handsome nephew, a Catholic priest. I married one of his nieces and that seems to be going well, years later.

   Maybe I am getting better.

   In a long email not long ago, he told he embraced my religion but found its parables and stories rather obvious and boring. He wrote splendidly of the wonder he feels when he looks at something in ultra-ultra microscopic form, something no one has ever seen in just this way in just this form.

   I laud him. I think he is doing God’s work; profanely, a bit insecurely but God’s work to heal and mend.

   In fact, I think he does God’s work more than Benny Hinn or Robert Tilton, who call the name of Jesus regularly and so bring dishonor to God’s name. Profanity, non-observance and all, I think it will be better for Biff on the Awesome Day than for the Faith Stealers.

   Still, I disagree with Biff’s assessment of our Story. I see it, the Story, seep out of the cave-stable, ooze through every opening in the human psyche and set up solid; the non-verifiable harmony for the melody line of anecdotal evidence.

   Christ is in Christmas. Christmas is a purely religious act, like His death, unremarkable apart from religious significance. Christianity, as a result, is a religion, not a way of life. A way of life suggests numerous other ways of life, all intent on imparting values to make you a better you.

   The Christ, on the other hand, is a religious Person of Significance, claiming openly to be the One. He is not about making you a better you. He is about bringing the cosmos back to a right relationship with its Creator. He is Redeemer.

   Keep Christ in Christmas?


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