I’ve always thought there was something weird, something bizarre and schizoid, about Christmas, at least in America. For one thing, Christmas is such a huge deal, while Easter, which marks that for which Jesus is supposedly celebrated - or celebrated by many - is barely a blip.
Then, there’s the mind-boggling fact that, until relatively recently, Christmas was banned - illegal in certain countries, like Scotland, and Christian denominations that saw it as pagan. Now it is the biggest of holidays - and not only in the U.S. When my family lived in London for a year and Christmas was on a Saturday, we didn’t get a newspaper for three days.
And finally, why is Christmas such a huge holiday, let alone a federal holiday, in America, which takes pride in its line between church and state?
With all this, it is hard not to think that Christmas is there to make money. Like what my parents always said about Mother’s Day and Father’s Day - that it was made up by the Hallmark card company. After all, I’m reading everyday in the paper that merchants make about a third of their annual income during the Christmas season, and it is like whether or not Christmas is good this year hinges on how the merchants do.
I’ve been wondering what Jesus would make of Christmas. What would Jesus say about his birthday and how it is celebrated?
No doubt, he would be disgusted, at the least. He would be appalled by how Christmas, at least in this country, is very much about money and very little about him and what he said and modeled.
I keep thinking of Jesus getting mad, getting furious - yes, he was human - in the synagogue and kicking and knocking over the tables of the money-changers, screaming that they violated the holy, the sacred.
I can see Jesus doing that in a mall today.