Alpine Summit

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Something to Think About

At my church they put small stories in the bulletin that serve to teach a lesson or give a new perspective on a well known topic. This week, the first thing in that section was a story about a boy who's family celebrated Christmas the usual way(Church, presents, tree, etc.), but with one difference: they sang "Happy Birthday" to Jesus to remind them why they celebrate Christmas in the first place. So, the next day a man comes up to the boy and says "did you get everything you wanted for Christmas?" and the boy replied "No, but it wasn't my birthday."

Such materialism injected into this holiday is kind of a shame; unfortunately, it's the product of living in a capitalist society where the main event for a lot of people are the gifts. I think the holiday has changed for a lot of people from being glad in giving a gift to being glad in receiving a gift. To me, that's the dangerous slope we as Christians must not take.

Now I said all that to point out this story linked from Drudge. The Pope says materialism pollutes Christmas. For once, I actually agree with the Catholic church. For all the crap I give it, I'm going to say "AMEN" to the Pope on this one.

Pope Benedict warned on Sunday against rampant materialism which he said was polluting the spirit of Christmas.

"In today's consumer society, this time of the year unfortunately suffers from a sort of commercial 'pollution' that threatens to alter its real spirit," the Pope told a large crowd gathered in St. Peter's Square to hear his weekly Angelus blessing.

Of course, then he goes on to say it should be a "sober" celebration which I disagree with on the grounds that this should be a time of rejoicing and reveling in Christ's birth (but I guess that's a matter of preference, so I won't fault the church on this one). I liked his idea on putting the "Christ" back in "Christmas." He is urging Christians to set up nativity scenes in their homes to serve as an expression to others of their faith, and also to remind children the meaning of the holiday.

Last year, under Pope John Paul, the Vatican launched a high-profile campaign to urge Roman Catholic Italy not to compromise the spirit of Christmas through excess or dilute its message out of fear of offending a growing Muslim population.

Again, I agree here. We as Christians should never be afraid to share our faith with others because it might "offend" them. If it offends their sensibilities or their wrong-headed religion, then so be it. I couldn't possibly think of a better time to witness to others about Jesus than during Christmas. It's the most well-recognized holiday in the calendar, celebrated by atheists and others, and it's up to us to make the most of it by explaining to those people the reason for the holiday.