Each December, about a week before Christmas Day, I rummage through my electronic junk box and find my Christmas CD. I’m fussy about Christmas music. Don’t like anything too corny or elevator music-ish, nothing from Russian winter tales or other “traditional” Christmas events, and I don’t like to start more than a week before the actual day we celebrate.
I’ll take my homemade Christmas CD of rock and roll Christmas songs from the Sixties until Christmas music started sucking and play it while I’m driving through the minefield of harried, distracted moms and elderly grandparents who only venture out this time of year and don’t trust the internet. It’s a wonder the auto death rate doesn’t rival that of gunshot victims during the Holiday Season.
Listening to the Christmas songs I grew up with, and the newer ones I’ve adopted as time has passed, helps me to fight off the Scrooge-like attitude I’ve developed over the last decade as I’ve moved farther away from delighted kids and much closer to selfish idiots.
One of my favorite tunes is the spine-tingling version of Oh Holy Night done by Eric Cartman, the little fat kid from South Park. His voice quavers throughout the song and he is terminally afflicted with Lyricosis; that dreaded disease for which there is no cure, and no sympathy.
At one point Eric sings “Jesus was born and so I get presents.” I’m not sure there is anything else that can come close to describing the current American attitude toward the juxtaposition of the Savior’s birth and Saturnalia.
Every society has blind spots where religion and national holidays are involved, but few can match the sheer distance of belief between the teachings of Jesus and the way we currently celebrate his birth. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, fistfights, forced working on holidays, increased rate of divorce, suicide, and general family upheaval, all point to a society gone mad trying to be as selfish as is possible while reverently honoring our Lord and Savior.
Bill O’Reilly claimed last week the War on Christmas was over and he had won. Not sure exactly what that means but I’m confident if Jesus parachuted down here during the last week of December he’d be embarrassed that we were taking the ancient Roman celebration of debauchery to a new level and doing it in His name.
At an Ace Hardware store last month, I saw a cheerily decorated box near the entrance. Amid the bows and glitter was a slot identified as Wishes for Santa. Near the bottom of that same box was a second slot, with the words Prayers for Jesus. Gives me chills just to think about it. Little kids can ask for the latest version of World of Warcraft and pray for World Peace without moving.
As we all struggle to stay economically solvent after buying idiotic gifts for people we barely know, and preach the “true meaning of this season” to our children as we pile more and more consumer goods into their waiting arms, it’s good to know that we have at least come to grips with how all this fits together.
There is a house about halfway from our place to the mall and all its arteries. The folks who live there feature a Nativity scene each year about this time. Sitting in the manger next to Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus, is Santa and Mrs. Claus. There are several other scenes depicted around the yard and prominently displayed in the center is the family flagpole with Old Glory flying proudly about everything else.
Kinda says it all, doesn’t it?