Tuesday, 11 December 2007
The Christmas Conundrum
I'm seriously conflicted when it comes to Xmas. All that sentimental schmaltz and lethal doses of Helen Steiner Rice-type verse. Then there's the cheesy religious kitsch, hideous mangers, smirking cherubs and politicians trying to sound magnanimous. If I had to choose a tolerable Xmas carol it'd probably be the one about Snoopy and the Red Baron.
But who can complain about family get-togethers and doing nice things for little kids? All year long responsible parents repeat the "no" message; no you can't put that in the trolley, no you had ice-cream yesterday, no you can't have that just because it's advertised on TV, no you're not old enough for a cellphone, no we're not stopping by at McDonalds today.
Then, once a year they give themselves permission to be indulgent and splurge on the little people. But those same parents do it largely under cover of a seedy old guy called Santa, just so their offspring don't get the idea that they've suddenly dropped their adult guard. Gotta love it!
But for those of us who have fled from the Xmas-free dominion of Herb and his flunkies, the question remains - what about the pagan connection? For some like Bob Thiel it's a no-brainer: "...since “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8) true Christians realize that Christmas celebrations are not okay as far as God is concerned."
Which is where Paul Kroll's article comes in. The latest issue of WCG's Christian Odyssey has the usual mix of the good, the bad and the ugly, but Kroll, to his credit, takes the Yuletide bull by its horns and talks about those pagan connections. Yes, concedes Paul, the early Christians did indeed borrow freely, but...
And it's the but bit that makes his bells jingle. Check it out.
Not that I'd normally recommend CO (and certainly wouldn't recommend the tedious Feazell article on this subject in the same issue), but hey, even a stopped clock tells the truth twice a day.