Friday, December 21, 2007

Taking Christmas Out of Christ

I work with seniors, and one of the things that has them lathered up right now is the increasing use of the generic "Happy Holidays" greeting during the Christmas season. Lately much of their 'round-the-coffeepot discussions are frowny-faced allusions to people who, in their minds, are "trying to take Christ out of Christmas."

At the risk of disrespecxting my own personal experience living in the world is that not all that many folks really want to take Christ out of Christmas. But there are, it seems, plenty of Christians hell-bent on taking the Christmas out of Christ. I run into them all the time -- latter-day Puritans assaulting all things Christmas as "pagan"; in one case even calling into question the morality of church Christmas pageants, since these plays "use words that aren't in the Bible."

Oh, for God's sake, get over it! I want to scream.

If we really believe that Christ is the Redeemer of the world, then why is it such a stretch to believe that Christ has redeemed not only individual souls but the whole creation, as Paul points out, and with that both the natural world whose cycle we also acknowledge this time of year, and the Ur-memories of our pre-Christian heritage -- the beliefs and rituals of which so often foreshadow the Christian story?

I am so over Christian conservatives and their sour-souled jihad against not only secularism but against the cherished traditions and rituals of their fellow Christians. I don't even feel as if we are a part of the same belief system -- a feeling with which I'm sure they concur.

As someone once noted, If I can't dance, I don't want to be part of your revolution. Or in the words of Teresa of Avila, Lord deliver us from sour saints.

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