Oh, my, we Christians can get all wrapped around the axle about some silly stuff, can’t we? Now comes Focus on the Family’s Stand for Christmas. OK look, I agree that it’s silly that retailers go all PC on us and have to issue innocuous “Happy Holidays” for fear of offending some sect of people. Good grief, what about those people who’d prefer a “sad holiday”? Aren’t they offended by such well-wishing? I digress…anyway, sure, I get it. It’d be nice if the word “Christmas” weren’t watered down. Fine. That sentiment is worth about 13 seconds of my time.

But to some people, that’s worthy of a campaign and a website and a big hoop-de-do. To others, it’s just a silly diversion. Read this article, and count me in their group. What they said.

14 responses »

  1. Hefe says:

    Thank you, Byron…

    There is nothing I can think of that riles me more than seeing stuff like this. Frankly, I would rather my local retailer NOT say merry Christmas, because what occurs at Sears and Walmart has a little in common with the anticipation and celebration of the coming savior. Let’s stop conflating the two, and let Christmas once again be about the good news, eh?

  2. Byron says:

    Hey, have you joined the Advent Conspiracy? If not this year, make sure you do next. We’re doing it for the first time as a church.

  3. Byron says:

    Oh, by the way, new dad again, does this stuff rile you more than, say, me saying that you look like some natural-born hippie with your long, straight from Haight-Ashbury ‘do? Which riles you more?

  4. Graham says:

    What’s the Advent Conspiracy?

  5. Hefe says:

    @Byron

    I have never heard of the Advent Conspiracy, but Doxa Church is observing advent as part of the Christian year for the second out of two years. If we as Christians want to stand for Christmas, than why don’t we just get back to Christmas?

    And the Christmas thing riles me WAY more. Because why would I care about opinions on my hair from a guy who, well…, is significantly less endowed in that region? It’s like a fat guy giving diet advice.

  6. Byron says:

    http://www.adventconspiracy.org

    Go there. Go there now, and learn. Seriously, it’s a great thing.

  7. Hefe says:

    OK, I looked up the “Advent Conspiracy”. Honestly…not that impressed. Beyond the seeming misunderstanding that advent is NOT Christmas, but a season of anticipation and preparation FOR Christmas, I feel like it is a well-intentioned checklist of “do this”, but a checklist none-the-less. All good points, but I think there is still something missing…

  8. Hefe says:

    I’m not sure I can put my finger why it just seems “meh” to me…but let me give you two thoughts rattling around.

    #1 – It’s still not really Advent
    #2 – It’s still a “DO” list. WHile they are good “DO”s, isn’t the point of Advent & Christmas “Done”? The focus seems to be on what I should do, instead of what Jesus Did, Does, and is going to yet do.

    Maybe I’m just not up for another program…

    • Byron says:

      @Hefe: Yeah, I think you’re missing the point. First, why isn’t it “Advent”? Because it doesn’t, per se, follow an advent calendar, but rather simply refers to a “season”? Second, the fact is that we WILL do something…we all DO something. We all celebrate Christmas in some way, and most of us seem to do so in ways that take the focus off the coming of Christ. I’d rather call it a “replace” list…replace your non-Christ-centered Christmas observance with one that is more in keeping with worship. Further, there’s literally no cost to the “program”; we don’t send one red cent to Advent Conspiracy. That alone sets it apart from just about any other “program” out there.

      I don’t know…it seems that it gives us some good ideas/direction as to what a Christ-honoring Christmas season ought to be.

  9. Hefe says:

    So I guess a question I have for you is this: What is Advent? What is it’s purpose? What is to be observed and/or celebrated? Most importantly, how is it DIFFERENT than Christmas?

    And yeah, you don’t have to pay for it, but it is still “4 steps” to a better Christmas. It’s programmatic in style…at least that is my impression from the web page. It’s still centered in human activity, with Jesus mentioned only as a motivator to do the 4 steps. It seems that 3 of the four don’t even necessarily require Jesus. The church of Stop shopping puts out two of them. Again, these are not bad things, they are GREAT things. But the point of the “season” is something else not mentioned. Which brings me back to the question…what do you say Advent is? Or to paraphrase Jack Nicholson, “Is this as good as it gets?”

  10. Hefe says:

    One more thought…I don’t want to take over the blog!

    WHile, again, they are great ideas, I think that I could follow all four of their suggestions, and still miss the spirit of Advent (even the first is labeled in a contemporary worshippy way). I could also observe Christmas as usual buying all the regular presents +1, and failing to give away any homemade Christmas cookies, and STILL have a meaningful Advent season.

    The ideas laid out are a great SUPPLEMENT to the season, but they are not the season. They are not the center.

    But hey, it’s just my opinion. And I’m not against it. It’s fine. I’m ambivalent.

  11. Graham says:

    What is Advent? According to my copy of “Common Worship”, the Church of England’s service book-

    “Advent is a season of expectation and preparation, as the Church prepares to celebrate the coming (adventus) of Christ in His incarnation, and also looks ahead to His final advent as Judge at the end of time. The readings and liturgies not only direct us towards Christ’s birth, they also challenge the modern reluctance to confront the theme of diving judgement….

    “The Four Last Things- Death, Judgement, Heaven and Hell- have been traditional themes for Advent meditation…”

    It is, really, a looking back and looking forward, e.g. the New Testament readings given for evening prayer are from Revelation and the epistles to the Thessalonians, which might seem out of place if Advent was just about preparing for Christmas.

  12. Hefe says:

    @Graham…Ive been really getting into the common books of worship. I was turned to them by the internet monk, and may hopefully buy the lutheran one soon.

    That sounds like a good focus of advent, and has nothing to do with how many presents I buy, or whether or not I sing carols in the street. It focuses on Christ, and the reason for His coming, both before and again.

    I know in the Methodist tradition, they focus on hope, peace, and kingdom. Here at Doxa, we focused on deliverance, expectation and peace.

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