Tuesday, May 29, 2012

"Happy Holidays"

In a sermon a few weeks back I said something like, "I think Santa Claus makes Christmas better." To the shock of many in the room, I (an evangelical, sometimes labeled fundamentalist, Christian Pastor) gave props to the secular rituals that have come to be associated with the yearly holidays.

To be forthright:
1) Our family dyes Easter eggs, hides Easter eggs, eats chocolate Easter eggs, and yearly puts out beautifully painted wooden eggs (in Norwegian Rosemaling) .
2) At Christmas, Santa comes and brings candy and presents. We do get a Christmas tree. We even say "Happy Holidays" on occasion.

For all those doubting my salvation, C.S. Lewis comes to my rescue in Reflections on the Psalms. Lewis observes that a devout young boy can appropriately place the resurrection of Jesus and eggs together in celebrating Easter. Admittedly, a time will come when the boy will have to place emphasis on the eggs or Jesus. Lewis writes, "If he puts the spiritual first he can still taste something of Easter in the chocolate eggs; if he puts the eggs first they will soon be no more than any other sweetmeat (British for candy)."

Mirth should and can be added to most religious holidays, but at the end of the day we must let the holy day fuel the mirth rather than the mirth fuel the holiday. Otherwise we worship the mirth rather than the Person that brings forth the mirth. At that point we have became pagan revelers rather than pious worshipers.

I pray that your future Holy Days (holidays) would be filled with mirth because they are based on the Savior who came as a baby and died as a criminal to save the world from their sins.

1 comment:

Sara said...

I agree. We don't have a problem with bunnies and eggs, if anything it makes us more diligent to emphasize what the holiday is really about to our children.

My only beef with Santa Claus, is that it's a lie. We don't ban him from our Christmases, but we have always told the kids the modern Santa Claus is not real (with the caveat that they are NOT to spoil it for other children).

I remember being astonished that my dad had maintained the Santa Claus lie for so long (I didn't figure it out until 4th grade when I point blank, asked my grandmother to be straight with me--I know I was slow or really naive).

I don't want my kids to think that since I lied about one special holiday person, that maybe all that "Christian" stuff is a fabricated thing, too.

But we certainly don't make a big deal about it, just maintain transparency.