In the midst of the squak swirling over Phil Robertson’s stated beliefs on Natural Law and his preferences when it comes to mating (read the whole quote. The man sees that God and Mother Nature know best and is willing to say so), more disturbing is a study from the Pew Research Forum was released this week which states:
Nine-in-ten Americans say they celebrate Christmas, and three-quarters say they believe in the virgin birth of Jesus. But only about half see Christmas mostly as a religious holiday, while one-third view it as more of a cultural holiday. Virtually all Christians (96%) celebrate Christmas, and two-thirds see it as a religious holiday.
…And while about seven-in-ten Americans say they typically attended Christmas Eve or Christmas Day religious services when they were children, 54% say they plan to attend Christmas services this year.
And here, my friends, is part of the problem with life as we know it in America where, culturally, we have an every man for himself free for all most of the time.
It could just be that, since I’m Catholic and Christmas Day (or the Vigil aka Midnight Mass) is mandatory for us to the point that we have a name for the people who only show up on the two big days (C & Es or Christmas and Easter), please, allow me to exclaim, WTF?!
Only HALF of American Christians see Christmas as a religious holiday? (Where do they think the word “holiday” came from????? Holy Day. Holy Day.)
There’s this HUGE campaign out there being spread throughout social media on keeping Christ in CHRISTmas. If we really want this to be, why are people not going to church on Christmas Day?
Yes, it could well be that the church-goers are the ones spreading the campaign.
Why is it then, if three quarters of the country believe in the Gospel account of Christ’s birth, do only half of THOSE people go to Church to celebrate it? He is the Messiah, the entire reason for the season as we know it in this time.
Not getting into the anthropological discussion on Saturnalia or anything having to do with the winter solstice. After all these centuries of doing Christmas in December, let’s just call it a done deal.
Historically, as a cultural experience, Christmas was not always a huge celebration. Various cultures developed their own way of observing Christ’s birth. St. Francis of Assisi introduced the Creche, or manger scene, to the world in the 13th century. It is a way to artistically demonstrate the true poverty of Christ’s beginnings, the true meanness, as in “lacking distinction or eminence,” so that the illiterate and children who did not quite understand could. For those of us living in the developed world, where there are no longer stables as a regular part of life, this is an invaluable tool for the same reason: mangers are not part of our experience.
(Which begs the question, how many of the above mentioned Christians have a Creche in their houses along with the trees? My nephew who is not yet in kindergarten has a BLAST playing with the figures to the set in this house where the Wise Men were “going on a field trip” and he put Baby Jesus in the bakery so He could stay warm. The kid’s more into Baby Jesus than the Santa story, that’s for sure.)
The music we now identify as being part of the season developed over hundreds of years, as a way of expressing the majesty of the event. In the Church, not every Holy Day gets this treatment. Only the REALLY important ones.
That we’ve adopted and romanticized the Victorian England version of Christmas and then turned around and commercialized it, is a complete disgrace for a country where three quarters of the people believe in the Virgin Birth and the Gospel account. And half of these people don’t even go to church to observe that it happened.
If the populace is going to ignore Christ during the time that trumpets His birth, the fact that the Father sent the Son to us to die for our sins, what else is ignored? What other part of the Christian message and Christ’s demands of us are ignored?
Matthew 22:36-40 Master, which is the greatest commandment in the law? Jesus said to him: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. And the second is like to this: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments dependeth the whole law and the prophets.
Not going to Church on the day we celebrate Christmas is a symptom of a larger problem in America. If Christmas isn’t a religious holiday, that which bears His name, what is?
Yes, we need to put Christ back in Christmas, and that partially means taking the time to stop with partying long enough to pay Him our respects in His house.
It’s the least we can do.
Okay, back to rehearsing for the Fourth Sunday of Advent.