"Give December back to the pagans"
Uncle Halvor wants nothing to do with “selling Christmas”
My Uncle Halvor had barely settled into his favorite pew at the No Place Cafe when he started in. “You want to know something? I think it’s a downright shame we Lutherans keep celebrating Jesus’ birth in December!”
Halvor, I recall, has come up with some really weird ideas in his time, but this one, I decide, might just take the cake. “What’s wrong with December?”
“I heard somewhere that the early church really didn’t know for sure when Jesus was born. They just grabbed a Roman feast day and converted it into the birthday of Jesus. I don’t think it’s worked very well.”
“Halvor, what’s gotten into you? That sounds outlandish.”
“Okay. Just look at how most folks celebrate Christmas. They watch Charles Dickens’ “Christmas Carol” on TV. Did you ever even hear the name of Jesus mentioned? No! Check it out!
Look at the way people practically run over each other to get Wal-Mart bargains. Not much love shown there. You oughta hear how short-tempered Helga and me get over trying to get the Christmas tree to stand straight, or whether you should bake or boil lutefisk, or when trying to find gifts for relatives we don’t like all that much. And that Madonna Christmas stamp really has to go! That gets my goat! What is the government trying to do anyway? Using Mary and Jesus to sell stamps? They’re actually making Christmas into just another secular holiday like the Fourth of July!”
“Do you want to do away with Christmas altogether? I can tell you right now, people won’t buy it.”
“No, I say give December 25 back to the pagan world and let them do whatever they want with it. And stop misleading people into thinking that just because they’re religious, they’re also Christian!”
“What would you have Christians do then? Jesus’ birth is still pretty important, you know.”
“I would move Christmas to January 6. That’s when those guys on the camels brought their gifts to Jesus. What could be more appropriate?”
“You know, Halvor, you’re worse than the Grinch and Scrooge put together! What’s with you anyway?”
Then Halvor got kind of slow and deliberate as he reflected, “Mark Twain once said, ‘It’s not what I don’t understand in the Bible that bothers me; it’s what I do understand too well.’ Somewhere in the back of my head I keep remembering a Sunday school teacher who said about the same thing when she told us there’s a big difference between being religious and being Christian! Let’s give December 25 back to the pagans and let Christians celebrate a Christian Christmas — on January 6.”
Well … it’s something to ponder.
“In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.” (1 John 4:9)