It’s that time of year, again. Yep… it’s time for all the prune-faced, tight-arsed Gloomy Guses and Gussies to come out of the woodwork, telling us that we shouldn’t be celebrating along with the “world”. We hear the same old song every year. Give it a rest, guys… as Fr Andrew Phillips wrote:
Atheists, Jews, and Muslims have no problem with it. Most of them keep “Christmas”. Nor do the vast majority of Western Europeans have any problems with it; this means all those who never set foot in any church on 25 December. In other words, “Christmas” for them, as for us, is simply a part of the secular, cultural Western calendar, like any other bank holiday, a time at the end of the year to have a decorated tree and decorations in the house and give each other a present. This can all be done modestly and need in no way interfere with the preparations for the feast of Christ’s Birth on 7 January, which is so important that we even take a day off work. In other words, 25 December is a cultural, not a spiritual, occasion.
That is, “Christmas” and the Nativity are two very different things. The first is a secular holiday. It has a secular theme; it has a secular ethos. We celebrate other secular holidays… why not this one? That’s why the Orthodox Calendar is important. You see, Christmas and the Nativity are on different dates if we use the Church Calendar, and it’s easy to differentiate between them. If, out of laziness or pride, we use the papist calendar, it’s more difficult to make this separation. Let’s do like the Mother Church in Russia… there, people celebrate New Year‘s as a secular holiday, and then, they celebrate the Nativity as a religious feastday. That makes good sense. A priest-friend of mine in Russia said, “I’m happy for New Year’s… it allows us to keep the Holy Days holy. We can have Ded Moroz on New Year’s and we can have the Cave on the Nativity”. Now, that’s something to emulate.
There, let’s have Santa Claus on “Christmas” and let’s have Christ on the Nativity. That’s the way the Church operates… it takes the “golden mean”, as the Fathers said. As for the fanatics… the real reason for their caterwauling is that they want to feel superior to the rest of us. They’re “holier”, more “spiritual”, and more “Christian”. If I were you, I’d avoid such people and give them a WIDE berth. They’re on the hell-bound train, and no amount of argument will talk them out of it. Only God can reach such fools. As for the rest of us… I LIKE Dickens‘ A Christmas Carol and I LIKE giving gifts… there! Remember, Our Lord Christ turned water into wine… He didn’t turn wine into water… ponder that.
Sunday 2 December 2012