It is inescapable. Swivel your eyes to the left and you are bombarded with Christmas trees. Squint to the right and you are inundated with wrapping paper, lights, gift bags, and tinsel. While your eyes take in the scenery, your ears signal to you that you are humming along with the Muzak playing religious or holiday songs. And if you are lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time you may be jostled, by like-mesmerized-shoppers, right off your path only to discover you are in front of a shop filled with the wonderful fragrance of gingerbread or peppermint.
Thinking about Christmas this year what struck me was this: why do some people celebrate Christmas if they are non-believers in God? What purpose do they have for purchasing or exchanging gifts? Why do they go through the hustle and bustle of the holiday?
As a believer I know that with each token I bestow on someone else I am honoring God and the gift He gave us in the gift of Jesus. While my tokens certainly don’t measure up, it’s the thought that counts right? Although my public practices have been stifled by man’s offensive bastardization of what my innocent childhood relied on to be true, I continue to foster my faith by holding true traditions instilled in me from an early age.
Not a season goes by that I don’t watch all movie versions of “Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Clause”, the only version of “It’s A Wonderful Life”, and of course “Prancer”. I try not to miss televised offerings of “Frosty”, “Charlie Brown’s Christmas”, and the original “Grinch Who Stole Christmas”. I always hope to catch the Norelco commercial with Santa sledding through the snow.
These shows are certainly not religious in nature but they infuse, in my heart at least, the basic kindness that propels humanity toward being compassionate, kind, and supportive of one another as we journey through our life here on earth just as Jesus portrayed during his journey. It is the least he expects of us and most days we fall short of the least of his expectations.
I read the story of Jesus’ birth while playing the religious holiday songs that are my favorite. I contemplate that goal of reading the whole Bible and again have the internal argument about being cheated out of the books someone before me felt didn’t need to be included and what I am missing by not getting to read everything.
So someone tell me what I am missing now. If you don’t believe in God, what are you celebrating on December 25th?