Talking heads and politicians coined terms like the “war on Christmas.” Internet bloggers lost their minds over holiday-themed coffee cups at Starbucks.
Wishing a Merry Christmas somehow has become an indicator to know what side of the cultural battle people are actually on.
So many people like to talk about how Christmas has become political in recent years.
Yet the holiday didn’t get made political. Its message has always been political, in a sense, as the story of Christmas pits the politics of human decency and humility against a fallen, broken and hateful world.
And that message should resonate just as loudly today as it did 2,000 years ago.
We repeat the story of a pregnant teenager, who poor and with no place to go, delivered a child amidst straw and dirt and barn animals.
We tell the story of the man who stood by her, despite the scandal of her pregnancy and the child not being his.
We celebrate the uneducated shepherds coming to visit the child after hearing angels singing in the sky.
To those who practice Christianity, it’s the first step in a longer story of a being born in the lowest of human stations, who surrounded himself by the rejects of society—the prostitutes and tax collectors, preaching a message of love and forgiveness. And he stuck by that message until the end, dying for the salvation of a world, which for the most part, rejected him.
You don’t have to be religious, however, to see the value of the story and the universal themes of kindness, charity and hope it promotes. It’s the story of the inherent value of fellow man.
That’s what makes it so ironic: the main theme of a central holiday for many Americans clashes so strongly with how we celebrate it and the world we live in.
Today, we evaluate each other based on material wealth. We evaluate each other based on what bubble we belong to, what people we’d vote for, what various political issues we support. Through those judgments, we decide what people are good people and what people aren’t.
Many of us probably would still judge the young, unwed mother. We’d probably blame the fact that she’s having her child in a manger on poor decisions and poor planning.
We’d probably reject the son who would grow up to speak that all people, including the poor, inherently have value.
Some would likely call his radical, anti-materialistic message class warfare in our current political climate.
Yet that doesn’t have to be the case.
During this Christmas or the holiday break, we hope all of us will enjoy and spend time with our families. May it bring happy memories and a bit of time for reflection. Let us all ask ourselves, if we truly celebrate the holiday, what role would we play in the story?
We hope people do remember the “reason for the season,” the story of the lowly and poor, the story of compassion and love and we hope an example that the rest of us can follow.
It’s a story that at least provides a few lessons in bringing ourselves together. So stay warm out there and love one and other.