By: Alex Hale ~Staff Writer~
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. It’s the time of trampling people to buy a new flat screen TV for a slightly discounted price. It’s the time of yelling at your relatives over political beliefs. It’s the time of attempting to show someone love by buying them something they didn’t need or want.
Yes, it’s Christmas time again, and political people with nothing better to do are debating whether or not to say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays.” I think that these arguments are really a typical American deflection away from the true issue. Christmas is not a Christian holiday anymore.
Of course today’s holiday stems from the original ideas about the birth of Christ, but today’s holiday is about materialism and not the coming of a savior into the world to teach us about the self-sacrificing love of God. What would happen to Jesus if he were born this year? How many people celebrating Christmas would open their door to a couple of ragged strangers looking for a place to stay? If these two ragged strangers walked passed a Best Buy on Black Friday, would anyone stop to look at them? Would they be trampled by the crowd as well?
This time of year is a time when we are supposed to open up our hearts and minds to the coming of our Lord who loves us so much he was willing to be born in a smelly stable, walk among us and die in the most public, humiliating and painful way – all for the sake of showing us his undying love. Yet we are not satisfied with this love, and we place love in the position of whether or not our parents buy us a new XBox.
Let’s not forget the message that Christmas sends to poor children. Since poor kids don’t receive the gifts that their rich friends do, it shows them that Santa Claus thinks they are less deserving than their richer friends, inflicting unnecessary psychological damage. Then there are rich spoiled kids who throw tantrums about not getting what they wanted for Christmas, being forced to go to church and being forced to help the poor when they feel they should be inside playing with their new toys. This is incredibly sad to see, because these kids place their value on how much they receive.
I was once one of these kids, and although I may have received mostly whatever I wanted, I found no fulfillment until I had a conversion experience to the Catholic Church and found that I didn’t need any gift other than the gift of love. Jesus also makes a point to show that society doesn’t respect the sacred anymore. There is a well-known story where he turns over the tables of the money changers in the temple. In so many ways, we have become the money changers. We continue to talk about buying the latest and greatest thing, which has resulted in no one being happy or satisfied. Maybe instead of spending hundreds of dollars on bringing a dead piece of wood into our homes and putting colorful lights on it, let’s use that money to feed a homeless person.
Let’s think about those who are often forgotten, because God stands with the poor and forgotten before he stands with the rich. I can assure you that helping the poor will be more fulfilling for you than any gift your parents may get you. So maybe both sides are wrong with this debate about the “War on Christmas.” Maybe liberals should stop pushing for “Happy Holidays” because Christmas is about a fat elf delivering gifts and not Jesus of Nazareth. Maybe conservatives should stop thinking that Christmas is under attack because liberals are adamant about being inclusive of all religions and instead should be worried about how Christmas has become a secular holiday.
So instead of placing your hope in a Christmas gift, place it in the love of your family and friends. Then you will receive a much greater gift than any new phone could give you.