I am a practicing Christian and over the years I have thought the “Put Christ Back In Christmas” campaign is a good idea, then not such a good idea, then a terrible idea. Two years ago I preached a Christmas message where I urged people to take Christ out of Christmas and to put Him into the everyday. What good it is for a Christian to only be cheerful, generous, loving and warm on one day a year? Surely we Christians should be celebrating the life of Christ by giving a child a warm meal and a fluffy toy in April or September or any other month as much as in December?
South Africa is a multi-cultural country where December isn’t only Christmas – it’s also Hanukkah, the summer solstice, the end of the school year, the end of the working year, it is just after Diwali and increasingly it is becoming about the American reclaiming of Kwanzaa (yes, I do find that bizarre, but if people want to do it who am I to stop them?) Mostly it is about a very secularised form of Christmas and spending time with friends and family. So why get hung up on a “Merry Christmas” rather than “Happy Holidays”?
If we were to take Christmas celebrations very religiously there would be little other than a simple commemoration on Christmas Day, perhaps with a nativity scene and an acknowledgement that we don’t know when the birth of Christ took place. No Christmas dinner, no Christmas pudding, no crackers, no hats, no decorations – including no tree – and if there were presents they’d be only for the Christ Child. Seems dull in comparison to the frenzy of gifts, flurry of activities and all the feasting we do over December.
So here’s my wish for you this year. Happy Holidays!