Sorry I've slacked off again, but I was fighting off a virus all weekend. I suspect it was that flu that's been going around, since the major symptom was crushing fatigue. Anyway, I seem to have fought it off, but I have to get ready for my mother's arrival tomorrow. So posting will be intermittent for another week or so.
One bright spot in the weekend was that I finally heard from Telford. Fans no doubt have noticed he hasn't posted since November 12, and I hadn't heard from him in about a month, so I was wondering what was happening. Turns out his entire family got the flu, all except him, so he spent the holidays as a nurse. Being him, though, he sounded pretty sanguine about it all. When I wrote him I mentioned in passing that there had been a dispute in blogdom about Christmas, and he remarked:
I love Christmas, except when I'm at the ER holding a fussy Benjamin. The sentiment is fun, and we participate in all the usual American traditions, but nothing is better than the church service (whether it is the Sunday before at CA, which we missed, or a Christmas Eve vigil at Lake Avenue or St. Mark's, which we also missed). Sure, America turns Christmas into indulgence and consumerism and all the rest, but church cuts through it with the good news of Jesus Christ, which rescues every Christmas from its own trappings and even redeems them. Even when the trappings are a morning in the ER holding an inconsolable baby (shades of Bethlehem there, perhaps)!
Posted by Camassia at January 05, 2004 06:05 PM | TrackBack
Christmas is a supremely materialistic festival. We celebrate the fact that God took human flesh -- became incarnate -- and lived among his people. He did not enter the world as a glorious heavenly being. He came as a baby, doing all the things that babies do. Forget the sentimental carols and Christmas cards. If the Christian gospel means anything at all, it is that "God is with us". Through the incarnation, God takes fallen human flesh and makes it holy. I think it was Irenaeus who put it this way: "He became what we are, that we might become what he is." So if ever there was a time to celebrate our flesh with eating, merrymaking and music -- this is it! Christians should not be on the sidelines looking po-faced. We should be showing the world how to party!
The real trouble is not with Christmas, but with the rest of the year. In the west we live every day as though it were a party. The reason we over-indulge to such excess at Christmas is that we over-indulge the rest of the year. The target of the church's complaint should not be the materialism of Christmas, but the materialism of a lifestyle in which excess is not only lauded, it is practically compulsory. But, of course, it is much harder to address an overindulgent way of life than it is to "Bah! Humbug!" about a short time of celebration. We complain about the splinter in our brother's eye but don't notice the plank in our own.