Additional "Christ in the Cubicle" Articles

 

Putting Christ back in Christmas
Published: 12/2/2010 2:09:22 PM

 

Merry Christmas!

Boy, it feels good to say that. I’m an advertising copywriter, and as we all know in the retail world, Christmas starts right after Halloween. We just sort of glaze over Thanksgiving and focus on the biggie: Santa Claus’ arrival. I’ve been blogging, writing invitations, ads and greetings while tip-toeing around the phrase "Merry Christmas” since October. Most businesses aim for political correctness and say "Happy Holidays” or "Seasons Greetings” instead. They cut Christ out of the picture, so I’m thrilled to say "Merry CHRISTmas” here!

Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, let’s dig into other ways we, as individuals and not businesses, accidentally cut Christ out of Christmas. Our culture is so good at it that we may not even realize what we’re doing. Usually, I merrily play society’s game until the moment I’m harmonizing to "Silent Night,” acapella during the traditional Christmas Eve candlelight service. In that quiet moment, I remember what Christmas is about: Christ and Christ alone.

The world tells us otherwise. Popular culture encourages indulgence in food, alcohol, presents and decorations at Christmastime. Between work parties, school parties and house parties, we become physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted.

White elephant gift exchanges and ugly sweater gatherings can become dreaded tasks that fill nearly every December night. Buying presents for everyone we know, dressing up as Santa to excite the children, building elaborate gingerbread houses and putting up more Christmas lights than the neighbors may all seem like innocent activities (and they can be), but usually they only distract us from the real reason we’re celebrating.

We reach a point where eggnog makes our stomachs churn and innocent sugar cookies seem evil. Been there? In the end, we eat too much, drink too much, spend too much and work too hard to do it all.

I realize we do all of these things because they’re tradition. Don’t get me wrong, traditions are often the glue of strong families; they’re amazing and I look forward to some of these activities every year. However, traditions can always be observed in moderation or even tweaked {gasp!}. Yes, that’s right—new traditions can be even more awesome than old traditions.

For instance, gift giving in my family has turned into a massive exchange of plastic. Gift cards, that is. Like many American families, we are blessed with everything we could need. Gifts are about wants, and we’re so spoiled that we can’t even figure out what we want. So, we resort to gift cards. That’s kind of sad, right? What if we rethought that tradition and instead pooled the money and gave to charity, in honor of the person who would’ve received plastic?

Or what if we baked goodies for a homeless shelter? Or left the ugly sweaters at the thrift store so they can serve a purpose and keep someone warm? Or hung Christmas lights for an elderly neighbor? Or built a gingerbread house with a child who’s lost a parent?

Repurposing old traditions may be exactly what we need to regain the peace necessary for focusing our attention on baby Jesus. Traditions aren’t meant to exhaust. What traditions could you tweak this year to rekindle your spirit?

In the end it's not about what we do anyway. Christmas is about what God has done for us. It's about God becoming human and joining us in this messed up human world so that He could make us new. The old tradition of sin and separation from God has been changed into a purposeful and beautiful relationship with Him though Jesus.

May you have a quiet mind and a joyous heart this holiday season and beyond!


Angie Laxdal

Visit her blog at http://angielynnaelaxdal.wordpress.com/

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