I'm up this morning after midnight watching the NASA Channel...that's right...NASA TV. You'd figure an hour of watching some guy float around on the International Space Station reading a procedure manual with very little dialog would be enough to send a person right to la-la land.
Up next...the History Channel International. Now we're getting somewhere. Surely my subconsciousness would cause a lapse into sleep from habit alone. I watched/slept through at least 100 hours of History Channel programming while I was sick...
Nothing. Not even a yawn.
But, I did catch a program on the history of Christmas with an emphasis on the holiday's pagan roots. No new information really, but it did make me realize how much the subject matter has come up lately in my own little circle. There are people who read this very blog that have very strong conviction about Christmas not really being connected to Christ...at all.
Even though I completely respect the view that Christians should have nothing to do with the holiday due to how it originated and what it has come to represents today, I can't say I'm in total agreement. In my opinion, it's a deeply personal issue, and I'm not comfortable trying to interpret the intentions or sincerity of how someone else celebrates Christmas. Only God has that ability.
For me, it all starts and ends at home. My role at my house is to be the spiritual leader. If I allow commercialism to overcome the celebration of Christ's birth...that's on me. Of course, that's really no different any other time of the year. Focus on God is a 365 day a year commitment. If a few twinkling lights and tinsel distract from that focus, I can't in good conscience blame Christmas or Christmas festivities. Besides, Christmas was always about the birth of Jesus in my home growing up, and I had absolutely no clue then about the pagan ties to winter festivals centuries ago. No...I have a formal, secular education to thank for that knowledge.
Still, I applaud those who have sworn off the tradition based on their belief and faith. They send a powerful message to their children and peers that a secular progressive world can be held at bay. It is not my place to judge them right or wrong...and it is wrong of others to do so too.
Christmas for me is mainly about a perception...a feeling that during the season people are just a little bit nicer to each other, that people are a tad more concerned about those with little or without, a time when families draw closer, when non-believers are forced to deal with those of us who rejoice in our belief, when lessons on being a joyful giver are at a prime, and an opportunity presented to tell on the largest of stages the greatest story ever told.
One of the best lines I think I've ever heard about Christmas came in a Seinfeld episode when Elaine says 'There's too much Jesus in the Christmas thing for me.'
If only that were always the case...
I feel a good sleep coming my way.