Why I’m a Humbug
It’s now officially Christmas eve and I can’t wait for Christmas to finally be OVER. Naturally, our family is not quite into the holiday spirit due to my father’s death a couple of months ago. But my dislike for Christmas goes back much further. This holiday has become a giant headache and a financial nightmare for most families in the country. First off, nothing spoils the joy of giving more quickly than having a whole list of people for whom you need to buy/make gifts. I’m a really thoughtful gift-giver, and I have a pretty keen sense of what people in my life enjoy and would like to receive. But those kinds of gifts aren’t always available at this time of year, and we just don’t have the income to give something to everyone we’d like to. It’s one thing for me to be shopping and spot something I know one of my family members would love. Buying one gift when I know it’s “the right thing” is usually awesome. It’s not hard to splurge on one thing this month and one thing next month. But finding an affordable “right thing” for a dozen or more people in my circle of family and friends in one month is just impossible.
The sheer expectation becomes mind-boggling. I know famlies who go into DEBT every December for Christmas and don’t get it paid off until June or July. What utter nonsense and overkill, to burden yourselves with debt like that. And let’s be realistic: much of the time we are buying gifts for people who don’t genuinely even NEED what they are receiving. How far we have come from the days in the last century when gift-giving was not an expectation at all…and if you got a gift, it was a small TOKEN of your affection for the person. Mostly Christmas involved a church service and a family dinner with a theme around remembering the birth of Christ. Today you would be hard pressed to find a lot of mention of Him on a holiday that is supposed to comemorate His birth. But beyond that, the holiday has always bothered me because it’s a FRAUD.
December 25th was not the day Christ was born. In fact, He was most likely born in September or October! The holiday came about when the early Christian church leaders in Rome wanted to bring pagans into the church, and someone hit on the scheme to take the pagan holidays and “baptize” them as Christian holy days. The church leaders went so far as to bring the idols of paganism into the church and give them Biblical names! The feast of Saturnalia on December 25th was a typical pagan holiday of drunken debauchery and idolatry. But church leaders took that barely altered pagan feast and called it by a Christian name to give it legitimacy…and even dared to call these celebrations HOLY days (when only God can hallow, or make holy).
This all reminds me of those junk recycling shows where they pick up someone’s trash and give it a coat of paint and some repairs and then present this recycled piece of junk as something good and desirable…when it usually is not. We are not to mingle the sacred with the profane, the holy and the unholy, nor are we to “learn the ways of the heathen to go after them.” The Lord is worthy of our highest and best in all things, and presenting the King of Kings this half-baked watered down version of pagan idolatry is an insult to Him. He certainly deserves better than a warmed over feast of Saturn.