I’m kidding. Mostly. But:
There is much to lament in this particular front of the culture war, especially since the brouhaha distracts us from combating the real threat to Christmas.
But for now, I just want to point out the irony of Christian attempts at protecting our right to make merry:
The short season leading to Christmas–that is, Advent–is a penitential season, not unlike Lent. In keeping with Christian tradition, we should be reflecting on our longing and need for the Messiah, not defending our right to a public Nativity scene
As I’ve explained previously
, I’m a newcomer to liturgical traditions. But I welcome these corrections to my sense of the holiday. Our December should be marked by humility, not cultural defensiveness. Let’s not reflect on the need of others to acknowledge our privileged status in this pluralist democracy; rather, let’s reflect on our own need for hope, for a visible inbreaking of God, for salvation.
An old post by Calvin College’s Jamie Smith
prompted this reflection. Like him, I value the wisdom of the gorgeous Advent hymn “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” which sums up what should be our true holiday spirit in the days before the 12 Days of Christmas:
O come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel,
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.
O come, thou Wisdom from on high,
who orderest all things mightily;
to us the path of knowledge show,
and teach us in her ways to go.
O come, thou Rod of Jesse, free
thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
from depths of hell thy people save,
and give them victory over the grave.
O come, thou Dayspring, come and cheer
our spirits by thine advent here;
disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
and death’s dark shadows put to flight.