Round about now, even the cheeriest of people starts to have a twinge of sympathy for Scrooge. As the last turkey slices are eaten, the first Christmas presents are broken, and the credit card bill pops through mail, who doesn’t think, ‘Bah, humbug”?
Well, Christians don’t. Or we shouldn’t – but it took an evening of Christmas TV to teach me why.
What it taught me was that almost everything on Christmas TV isn’t about Christmas. Or, at least, it isn’t about Christmas. So I’ve started to separate out out Christmas (which is about Christ) and *****mas, which isn’t.
Christmas celebrates the birth of our Saviour, the turning point of cosmic history. That really is worth celebrating – and we do it with carols and talks, but with presents and great food to remind us of God’s gifts and feast. There’s nothing puny or mean about Christmas – it should be about proper joy and parties.
Poor old *****mas can’t do that properly – so it has to fake it. I don’t mean fake trees and fake snow – I mean fake joy and happiness; fake anticipation and fake delight. At ******mas time, all there is is snow and berries and Victorian cards – so you have to invest them with all the emotions and meaning that actually belong to Christmas. The baby in a manger has proper meaning, and Santa doesn’t. But at ******mas they both have the same meaning, which is sentiment. “Joy to the world” and “Jingle bells” mean the same thing, are equally true, and are sung with identical gusto for the same reason – to hide from the horrible truth that ******mas is a fake. That’s why *****mas really is for the children, because everybody knows it’s all pretend, put on for the holidays. One day they’ll grow up and see *****mas for the expensive plastic toy that it is.
Because while Christmas brings a Saviour, *****mas brings Santa, and he’s rubbish. He never changed anything.
My *****mas TV showed that. One was a full-on, snowy, Dickensian fake; the other was a brutal, unpleasant slice of human life. One of our family said, “That wasn’t very Christmassy!” I agree. But both were very *****massy.
And they irony is that those Victorians knew what it was about – they really celebrated Christmas!
Happy Christmas everyone! *****mas? Bah, humbug!
If you haven’t seen it, Glen Scrivener’s ‘Anti Santy Ranty’ is well worth a look