To the editor:
Christmas is in full swing again. Actually, it's been in full-time operating mode since the middle of October when I was assaulted by an aisle of red and green merchandise at a local retailer.
Let's face it, most people would prefer seeing this junk after they've stuffed their faces with the Thanksgiving meal.
The marketers of today are quite clever in their efforts to "cash in on Christ" while He sits on the sidelines. Odd way to celebrate someone's birthday, don't you think?
For instance, Victoria's Secret parades half-naked young ladies disguised as angels (not the godly ones) on a runway while we're left to believe that, hey, that's what Christmas is all about, right? Really.
And of course, there's a zillion other obnoxious ads to get us into the Christmas spirit — oops, I mean, "holiday" — spirit. Saying "Merry Christmas" these days is practically bordering on hate speech. We might offend someone who rejects Jesus, but simultaneously celebrates His birthday by buying lots of stuff and going into debt.
The Jewish people have been extraordinarily wise in keeping their holy days holy. No cartoon characters (elves, bunnies, whatever) or mixing unbiblical people with actual biblical people. Any fat men with red suits distributing gifts to the Jewish children? No!
This has been a great blessing to their faith. Mixing man's world views with God's world view is generally dangerous in that it diminishes the "holiness" of the day as well as the message.
Is it any surprise that there's been a dramatic decrease in the Christian faith? Is it any surprise that Jesus is an afterthought to all the more important things we have to do to celebrate Christmas? Just ask Santa.
Now, before you call me a Grinch, this is not an attack on celebrating the season or being gift-bearers. There is nothing wrong with either of those two activities. C'mon, who doesn't like gifts!
But what's the reason for all the celebration and the gifting? Is it all about you, me, the profiteers? Or does it go much deeper than that?
You know as well as I what the answer is, but most folks just don't want to go there. Perhaps it upsets their sensibilities — who knows?
What we do know is that over time we have chosen to justify using Christ's birthday — a significant holy day for Christians worldwide — as a means of making a profit.
Have you noticed a lot of manger scenes in your travels lately? Not that long ago our landscape was filled with tons of creches and nobody was offended. In fact, the old Northshore Shopping Center in Peabody had a life-sized manger scene back in the day before it become a mall and before it became politically correct not to showcase what we're really celebrating.
This manger was quite a sight to see and a beautiful reminder of what the day really represents. I appreciate that memory.
How can God be with us if we keep kicking Him out of His party? Just for that we should all get some coal in our stockings.