Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Not gonna lie...***updated with new investigative reporting---ha

****updated: I just went to my local W@lgreen's to purchase my ummm...er...prep supplies for my, oh you know, my...procedure tomorrow and while waiting, I perused the boxed Christmas cards selection. I only made it through 3 of the 4 sides of the kiosk (someone wouldn't share the perusing love) and guess what? No, really, guess! Not ONE SINGLE Christian themed boxed Christmas card set. (shakes head back and forth, rapidly, causing double chin to waggle and eyes to shimmy).

Please read the article below. Then, I will share some tof my thoughts and perhaps, you will have some, too?

Fox News Story

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands — A Dutch gay group said Monday it has planned a "Pink Christmas" festival for the first time in Amsterdam, featuring a manger stall with two Josephs and two Marys.

Other attractions in the 10-day festival include parties, an open-air market, gay-themed films, an ice skating rink and religious services on Dec. 25.

ProGay group chairman Frank van Dalen said Monday the event is intended to increase the choices for homosexual men and women during the Christmas holiday week.

"Right now, there's not much to do," he said.

The festival will also encourage people to think about homosexuality and religion, Van Dalen added.

Some Christian groups protested. The organization Christians for Truth said the idea "mocks the core concepts of Evangelism."

"By putting Joseph and Mary down as homosexuals, a cracked human fantasy is being tacked on to history from the Bible," the organization said in a statement urging the city and organizers to cancel the event.

The manger, with actors playing the parts of Joseph and Mary, goes on display Dec. 21.

Van Dalen said it was not intended to be offensive, but was meant as a "wink" at heterosexual assumptions.

"Christmas is about more than religion, it's also about love and families, not to mention shopping," he said."Two men or two women can form a family too these days, even one with a child."

Gay marriage was legalized in the Netherlands in 2001, and adoption rules are the same here for gay or straight couples.

Van Dalen said the Pink Christmas initiative was also intended to help promote Amsterdam as a gay capital after a decline in its reputation in recent years.

A study last month found that homophobia is an ingrained problem in the city despite the Dutch reputation for tolerance, and physical attacks on gay men are a weekly affair.<------Physical attacks? A weekly affair? Let me be clear. That is not OK. The Bible tells me so.

My thoughts:

1). I am surprised (and frankly, thankful) that this is not happening (this year) in the USA. I quite easily assumed the article was based on happenings here, in our neck of the woods.

2). As I made my way through the content of the article, I was (moderately) 'fine', till the words in italics above were scanned. Then, it all came to a screeching halt for me.

Here's how I see it. Christmas *is* about "Christ". Period.

The fact that Christmas has morphed into some twisted perversion that in no way resembles a religious-based celebration of God's gift of His only Son to the inhabitants of planet earth, it not the fault of God or Christmas.

It's been a slooow, sometimes imperceptible shift and slide into a weeks-long secular spend-a-thon, has been occurring my entire lifetime (since 1962, people). Merchants, retailers, cities, entertainment industries, manufacturers, food and spirit purveyors, parents, educators---one and all, regardless of religious persuasion (or none at all), have quietly or noisily and greedily participated. Me, too, sometimes. And what do we have? What does that leave us? Empty pockets. Empty hearts.

I'll share some of my first-hand observances. I heard a dr.'s office receptionist talking to her co-worker, complaining that her husband (meanie!) has put the kabash on using credit cards to purchase "Christmas" presents this year, because she is still paying off last year's Christmas *rgy.

On one hand, I am startled by this very public conversation and yet, on some level, I know this is how a great number of people 'do Christmas'. Is God glorified by this? I highly doubt it. Especially considering I'm betting that this woman (or others among us, myself included) would be hard pressed to recall ONE, SINGLE present we gave or received last year.

Next, an observation in the "Christmas card" aisle at my local T@rget store. I was shopping recently, looking for some cards (that I didn't even know if I *needed*, BTW---not pointing the finger outwardly here, I'm included), when it occurred to me (again, this is not the first year I have made this same observation) that there are NO cards about Jesus! I have, in the past, literally yelled in the very same card aisle, "Where are the cards with JESUS on them!", much to other people's bemusement, I suppose (and some silent or randomly vocal support).

I seriously did a quick count and there were a total of 8 cards with some sort of overtly and uniquely Christian theme (a manger, words from Scripture, etc.), out of at least 100 choices.

I did not include in my count, sayings that are rooted in Christianity and Jesus' birth, but that now have watered down secular meaning, such as "Joy", "Peace on Earth", "Hope", etc. Rather pitiful, but hey, remember T@rget kicked the Salvation Army bell ringers out a few years back, so really, what do I expect?

Back to the Fox news article. Two Marys? Two Josephs? Oh, for the love of all things I hold dear and holy. Stop it. That's not nice. That's not tolerant of what I believe. Might be funny to you. Not so much to me. One Mary, chosen by God to play her special role in history, to be the Mother of God. One Joseph, chosen by God, to be the earthly father of Jesus.

Then there's the statement that implies gay people don't have anything much to do this time of year? What does that even mean? C'mon! Gay or straight, do you like baking cookies? Hanging out with loved ones? Attending plays? Concerts? Movies? Shopping for loved ones? Decorating the house? The smell of pine trees? Building a snowman? Drinking cocoa? Gay or straight has NOTHING to do with these activities.

Party on, gay and straight. Atheist or un-churched. Black or white, Asian or Native American. These sorts of affirming and loving rituals, these time-honored traditions make life special and sweet. Indulge, by all means (my advice is not to live *beyond* your means, however). Live it. Invite me to your gathering and you may come to mine.

But know that in my home we worship Christ as the center, the One and only reason for the celebration of Christmas. Because you cannot have Christmas, by definition, without the Christ.

You can have a Winter Wonderland Carnival, a Kick-@ss Kwaanza, a Happy Holiday, a Solstice Soiree, a Gee, I Just Want a Reason to Overeat and See the People I Love Party, but you cannot have Christmas. Nope. Nope. Nope.

Christmas recognizes and celebrates the most sacred event in Christianity. As a fully holy deity, Christ came to earth, in human form; born to a poor, betrothed husband and wife, as had been prophesied for centuries. He lived among us. He taught and healed and ministered, and established His church, through relationships and miracles. He came to fulfill the plan of salvation for a lost world (us). We worship and praise the Creator of All, Father God, and His Son, Jesus and His lifework on this earth.

Our hearts sing. Our lips are moved to speak and shout with Joy! for Christ is born. O Holy Night. O Come, O Come Emmanuel. What Child is This? The First Noel. Pa rumpa pum pum. Sleep in Heavenly Peace. Hark, the Herald Angel Sings!! The First Noel. Christians cannot remain silent at Christmas. Its not possible. We will praise Him for His tidings of great joy!

So, please have the magic of Santa Claus!! Really. Hang stockings. Enjoy the fun of The Grinch and the new movie, Four Christmases. Sing "Santa, Baby" and "Run, Run Rudolph" and "Jingle Bells". Croon "White Christmas" and "Blue Christmas", too, 'cause their not really about Christmas (although they are lovely songs).

Eat red velvet cake. Bake a big ole glazed ham or a tofu turkey. Drink rum punch or sangria (we won't, but we don't mind, at all, if others do). Hug the ones you love. Take lots of photos. Get out the good china and set a gorgeous table. Fall asleep in front of the fireplace. Sit in silent wonder at the quiet beauty of freshly falling snow.

All of these things belong to all of us. They bring great joy.

But Christmas, in its purest origins, belongs to those who call Jesus Christ, Savior, Lord, Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace, Emmanuel--God With Us.

So, Merry Christmas to all believers!!

And warm, sincere Season's Greetings to all who do not.

1 comment:

Val said...

Well said. I was just looking for cards tonight...saw lots of Lightning McQueen and Tinkerbell cards (huh???). Very hard to find ones that reflect CHRISTmas.

Wishing you and yours peace because of Jesus.