Wednesday, December 19, 2012

This Week's "Anxious Bench" Post at Patheos: "Have a Countercultural Christmas This Year"

From the Fox News Archives–Christmas Eve, 2010–JF

“Dad, why do people who are not Christians still celebrate Christmas?”

This is the kind of insightful question that can only come from the mouth of a nine-year-old. My daughter wonders why people who do not attend church still have Christmas trees, bake Christmas cookies, put colored lights on their houses, go to Christmas parties, and give gifts on December 25. To phrase her question differently, she wants to know how Christmas—the birth of the baby Jesus– became embedded in American culture to the point that it could be celebrated by her non-church-going friends and their families.

From the perspective of the Bible and Christian theology, Christmas is about the Incarnation. It is the story of God revealing himself to humankind in the form of a baby, the child born to Mary in that Bethlehem stable. Indeed, the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…
But in America, the biblical and theological meaning of Christmas has always existed in tension with cultural forces that have sought to draw one’s focus away from the “Reason for the season.”

In fact, for most of American history, the birth of the Savior has taken a back seat to the merriment and commercialism of that “most wonderful time of the year.”

Do you wish we could go back to a simpler time when our society understood what Christmas was really about? I am writing to tell you that such a Christmas golden age has never existed in America. Let me explain.

Read the rest here.