when christmas is just xmas

it might be a regional (read: “redneck”) issue, or it might simply be a matter of semantics but to me, it speaks to our values.

we’ve barely flipped the page on the calendar and already i’m sick and tired of the holiday hoo-hah.  i’m not a conspiracy theorist, and i’m not on the “we’ve got to stop everyone from replacing ‘merry christmas’ with ‘happy holidays'” bandwagon.  but it seems to me we have pretty much gutted the meaning of christmas. let me give you an example of my latest vexation…

i caught the last part of a piece on a local news broadcast.  they were interviewing the clark griswold-ish guy (and every town has one) whose yard has a quazillion christmas lights in a dozen animated displays set to music (and god forbid you should be this guy’s neighbor, because there is a perpetual traffic jam…but i digress) and a thousand-dollar-per-month electric bill.  the news media is obviously fascinated with this guy’s fascination, and they were following him through his house as he was showing them all the places he uses to store his ornamental obsession.  he pointed out not one, but two dedicated attics, and then he made this statement:

“we don’t use the bathtub in the basement, so it’s full of christmas.”

call me a stickler, but why didn’t mr. incandescent say, “it’s full of christmas lights” or “it’s full of christmas decorations” or “it’s full of frivolous crap designed to get me noticed”? and while i’m warmed up, may i please say that it bothers me when people use “christmas” to describe an activity?  as in, “we have to wait for mama and daddy to get here before we open christmas” or “we have christmas at her mom’s on christmas eve, then we have christmas at her dad’s on christmas day, so it’s january by the time we finally have christmas with all the grandparents.”  hello…can we please call the activity “opening gifts” or “gathering with family”?

is it any wonder that advent has lost its grandeur?  and that the incarnation ceases to inspire worship?


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