I’m kind of in a “semi-rant” mood today. Call it the post Thanksgiving Funk or a Holiday Hangover or whatever. The older (and crankier) I get, the more disillusioned I am by what “Christmas” has become. Count me as one that assumes Jesus is appalled (Note: Future theological argument to be had, “Can Jesus be appalled?”) at what is done today in the pretense of celebrating His birthday. So here are a few Holiday Rants about the time of year…
- If I see one more church sign or bumper sticker that says, “Jesus is the Reason for the Season”, I swear, I’m gonna’ do some vandalism. Could anyone possibly get more cliche? I once drove one hour through the hills of North Carolina and counted 12…as in TWELVE churches that had that insipid little epigram on their church marquis. Ugh!
- PLEASE don’t send me your chain emails regarding Keeping CHRIST in Christmas as opposed to using Merry Xmas. There’s actually an explanation I’ve read that explains the tradition of using the “X” in place of Christ that I’ve since forgotten and I promise you, it doesn’t have anything to do with a Satanic conspiracy.
- For those of you who want to draw comparisons between SANTA and SATAN, (You know, “Red Suit”, lives in the North, same letters, promises to fulfill your fantasies but is really a lie, etc…, etc…). Might I suggest you give it a rest and relax just a tad. If Santa bugs you — don’t have one, don’t pretend with your kids, etc…, but PLEASE stop making it your main cause for the month of December.
- I think the American Family Association and Bill O’Reilly have turned the whole “Happy Holidays” thing into a cash cow. (See THIS article written by my friend, Warren Smith.) I don’t particularly want some floozy perfume pusher in the aisle at Macy’s who happens to be dressed like a Victoria’s Secret Mrs. Santa wishing me a nice celebration of the Lord’s birthday this year. I’m fine with her saying, “Happy Holiday” or whatever. Basically, just leave me alone. Bah Humbug!
- Back to the AFA and Bill O’Reilly….I think when ever they hear someone say “Happy Holidays”, they also hear a little “ka-ching” sound as it gives them another chance to push their “Keep Christ in Christmas” and “The War Against Christmas” fundraising stickers/books/articles/etc… going for the offended flock for yet another holiday season.
- I’m going to admit for the first time publicly that I once bought several pages of the USPS’s Muslim “Eid” stamps and used them on my Christmas cards because I thought they looked like little Christmas trees and I’d never hear of an “Eid” or it’s holiday. In fact, I still don’t know what “Eid” is all about. Awkward!
- I would rather be beaten with a rubber hose than hang up the Christmas lights on the Christmas tree. I’m so glad I’m one of those Baptists that believe in eternal security, because I’m confident I’d have to get saved and baptized again every year after Christmas Tree Decorating Night if I was.
- I like those little ribbon candies that they sell for next-to-nothing at Walmart. Well, the ones that taste like fruit at least.
- I’m not a big fan of the Christmas Eve Candlelight Communion service anymore. It seems like a lot of people who have absolutely no business taking communion end up doing so just because it’s Christmas eve. I think the ordinance is too important and too serious to throw open the doors to a bunch of partially inebriated celebrants on Christmas eve who can’t find the local Catholic church and invite them to participate in something so sacred as a Biblical observance of the Lord’s table.
- There’s something highly unnatural about hanging your outside Christmas lights while wearing shorts as we do in South Florida. And in my case, it’s also highly disturbing to see me hanging Christmas lights while I’m wearing shorts (or any other time for that matter).
- I like a nice Honey-Baked ham for Christmas. By then, I’m just turkeyed out.
- I would rather spend $500 extra on Christmas than to go out on Black Friday. No, wait….make that $5,000.
- I think they should offer complementary marriage counseling at the place where you pick out your Christmas tree. It’s better to deal with the consequences of finding just the “right tree” right then and there than to have to go back later for therapy.
- I’m trying to remember if we ever took the annual family Christmas picture where at least one of the kids did not have red eyes because I made them cry during the process. Yep….I’m a candidate for coal in my stocking each year.
- I’m weird, but I like Christmas letters in the Christmas cards from friends. I mean seriously, I’m not interested in just seeing your signature again.
- On the subject of Christmas cards, if you are going to buy a $5.00 Christmas card for me at Hallmarks, just stick the $5.00 in an old envelope and send me a note on notebook paper and I’ll send the 5 bucks to Cuba so that one of my pastor friends there can have a week’s pay instead.
- OK, I’ll admit it….I’m not a big fan of the Christmas Cantata.
- Never, not one time in my life, has a single bite of a fruit cake crossed my lips. I plan on keeping that record intact until the day I die. For those of you who have given me fruit cakes over the years, I’m sorry and I hope I haven’t hurt your feelings. The good news is that I have no problem regifting fruit cakes. So you actually did bless someone. It’s the thought that counts anyway, right?
- I miss my Grandma’s chocolate fudge every year at Christmas. I don’t even try to make it, cuz’ it just doesn’t taste like hers did.
- In my home town of Moberly, MO, the town drunk often played Santa Claus every year. I always wondered why his breath smelled funny and then my mom explained it to me once I was old enough to handle the truth.
- There’s something delightfully challenging about licking a candy cane into a treacherous pointed shard of sugar that could be used to start an IV.
- Burl Ives is my favorite Christmas singer. Do not judge me.
- Amy Grant is my second favorite singer. You can go ahead and judge me a little about that.
- There’s something about the ringing of Salvation Army bell that really puts me in the Christmas mood. I can’t explain it, but it is like watching that old Jimmy Stewart movie that NBC shows in Black and White every year (and which I’ve never actually watched). At the mall in Charlotte where I used to live, they didn’t like the noise of the bell in the mall, so they shook a paper bell that said “ring” on it. That just made them look stupid. But I always put my change in the kettle of a “real” bell ringer.
- I still like to watch the cartoon version of “The Grinch that Stole Christmas” and “Charlie Brown’s Christmas.” I still don’t like to watch the Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer Christmas program because at 48, I’m still a little scared of that whole abominable snowman thing.
- I have to watch Ralphie and the Christmas Story each year. It’s just not Christmas until I see those guys at the Chinese restaurant sing “Deck the Halls” with their “Far, rar, rar, rar, rar, rar, rar, rar, rar.” As racist as it might be, it makes me laugh outloud every single time. And so does the famous long burp-scene from Elf. I know, I’m immature. Can’t help it.
OH…and “Jesus is the Reason for the Season!”
Note: A previous “edition” of this rant took a cheap shot at Free-Will Baptists in an effort to be humorous. However, humor is not an excuse for being a less-than-gracious brother in Christ and I have nothing but love and respect for my many Free-Will Baptists friends and apologize for the insensitivity. Anyone who is foolish enough to paint any sub-grouping of Baptists with a broad brush deserves, well….to be beaten with a rubber hose! Thanks to my friend, Joe, who pointed this out to me. DLB