A Christian defense of Christmas commercialism

It’s often been said, and it bears repeating, that the true meaning of Christmas is often lost in all the holiday shopping.  It also bears repeating, though, that the good things in our lives we often take for granted.  So it is with the tradition of Christmas gifts.

Really, the only way to appreciate something is to imagine something different.  Imagine, for a moment, that the God of Abraham and Jesus did not exist.  Suppose, rather, that the universe was ruled by Moloch.  I don’t say, to use the philosophers’ lingo, that this is a possible world, but it is certainly an imaginable world, since many men in times past believed it.  For an especially solemn occasion such as Christmas is for us, Moloch might demand sacrifices.  Each year we would offer a number of our children to be murdered by his pitiless priests.

Now return to the real world.  The universe is ruled by Christ’s Father.  And the thing that pleases the real God, on the celebration of the Incarnation of His Son, is that we should go out and buy presents for our children, for we know that He holds a special affection for these little ones.  How can we not be grateful that God is as He is?  Especially on Christmas, when, remembering His ultimate gift, his generosity is brought so vividly to our minds?  Gloria in Excelsis Deo!

3 Responses

  1. This is a good and worthwhile post.

    It’s often been said, and it bears repeating, that the true meaning of Christmas is often lost in all the holiday shopping.

    The irony of this is that our enemies not only control the “false meaning” of Christmas, shopping, but also the “true meaning” of Christmas. When we hear the claim of a lost “true meaning” in a cultural product, what “true meaning” do they offer? Certainly never that the true meaning of Christmas is the somber, scary one that God became incarnate for the express purpose of being tortured to death to save us from the just punishment for our wickedness. Rather, the “true meaning” of Christmas is that we should be nice, especially to our annoying uncle Gus.

  2. Hi Bill,

    Thank you. The Christmas “holiday specials” on television certainly remind one what a marginal place Christianity has in the culture. I find it quite thrilling when the birth of Christ is mentioned in “A Charlie Brown Christmas”; it’s something that one hardly ever hears. We get excited when we hear Jesus on TV, as if he were someone obscure like our grandmothers. Given that four-fifths or more of the population is supposedly Christian, this is surely strange. One would expect four out of every five Christmas cartoons would, if not being about the Nativity in a significant way, at least mention its celebration. For example, some of the characters might go to Church or sing a religious Christmas carol, activities that would reflect the holiday experience of the majority of Americans. I’m not talking about evangelization (although that’s needed too). I’m talking about the normal artistic expressions of a culture. Christian America doesn’t seem to have any. If it did, one would expect to see Christianity “in the background” in stories, as it was in the secular stories of medieval and early-modern Europe. Instead, there seems to be an unspoken assumption that all the characters on television are atheist or agnostic. Television and movies reflect the culture of those who make them–atheist, urban Jews, mostly. Good for them for artistically articulating their own culture; we should get busy doing that too.

  3. we should get busy doing that too.

    From your lips to God’s ears, brother! 😉

    Merry Christmas to you and yours.

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