Every year right after Halloween the world becomes Christmas-conscious - and people begin deploring. If only we could have a real Christmas, they say....If only we could retrieve the holy day from the hands of vulgar moneygrubbers, they say. They say, with earnest horror, that the price tag has become the liturgical symbol of the season.Sound familiar? Every year the stores start earlier and the nay-sayers get louder. And I become more rebellious. I have Christmas touches in my house year-round and I get frustrated at the people who try to limit me to celebrating one week, or even one month, per year. Maybe that's why I was so interested in an article called "Let's Keep Christmas Commercial." What? Read on:
They say that commercialization has made the buying of Christmas presents a rat race. God knows most of the gifts we peddle to each other have nothing to do with the infant of Bethlehem...With rare exceptions it is foolishly pompous to get scandalized and accuse manufacturers, advertisers and vendors of desecrating Christmas by trying to sell what you or I may think is silly junk...If you don't like what's being hawked this Christmas you don't have to buy it. And if you're a sucker, your problem isn't seasonal.
Some people are dismayed...because they honestly fear Christmas is being de-Christianized, made nonsectarian. They are upset when someone who does not share their faith sets up a tree and exchanges gifts and wishes them "Season's Greetings" instead of naming the holy day. They resent the spelling "Xmas". Others fret over the way Santa Clause and snowmen crowd out the shepherds. Put Christ back into Christmas, these offended people cry. As far as I know,Christ never left it. He could never be cut out of Christmas, except in the privacy of individual hearts.Wow! That's a new perspective - and I like it. It's up to me to keep Christ in my Christmas celebration and watching secular movies, decorating cookies or singing "White Christmas" doesn't remove Him.
It's always easier...to insist that the secularizing world prevents you from devotion. Christmas is meant to be lived in the noisy arena of the shopping day countdown, amid aluminum trees, neckties and counterfeit French perfume. If all the meditation I get around to is listening to Scrooge and Tiny Tim or begging heaven for patience to applaud a school pageant, I'm a fool to blame anyone but myself. Census time in Bethlehem was distracting, too.The author, April Armstrong, challenges every Christian to hold only themselves accountable for how they celebrate Christmas. But what really struck me about this article, and the reason I wanted to share it with you all, is where I found it.
"Let's Keep Christmas Commercial" was published in the Saturday Evening Post on December 18 . . . 1965. Yes - forty-nine years ago. The more things change . . .
I recently acquired a stack of Saturday Evening Post and Life magazines dating from the
1960's and 1970's. Based on my in-depth research (10 minutes on Ebay) they are worth several hundred dollars, but before I try to make a profit, I plan to read them and share other interesting things I find. So stay tuned for more "retro" posts.