Monday, November 22, 2010

Christian Extortion

A prominent Christian activist group is calling for a boycott on Dick’s Sporting Goods[1] because their advertisements fail to mention that their upcoming sales boon is related to Christmas and the giving that accompanies said observance in our country. (Yes, I used that word intentionally rather than holiday.) I have no disdain for the celebration of Christmas and will do so with my family. I will, however, strive to make sure that Christ is at the center of our observances. This is the very slogan of such activism: Tell them to keep “Christ” in Christmas. So, what is my problem with such an effort? I’ll get to that in a bit.

First, let’s set aside the likelihood that most of the symbols we employ today have pagan origins. Then, let’s set aside the gluttony, covetousness (which we promote by telling our kids to make a list of toys they want), irresponsible spending, unbiblical descriptions of the events of Christ’s birth in the stories we read and carols we sing, and a myriad of other trappings. Next, let’s set aside the notion of the timing of the birth—it was almost certainly not in December. Lastly, let us set aside the glory-robbing man in the red suit (I have already written on that). All that aside, I have two points that I would ask you to consider in light of such moral outrage at a pagan company designed to make money by selling us merchandise.[2]

The first point is the pettier of the two. If we want to keep Christ in Christmas, why don’t we also want to keep mass in Christmas? The word is a contraction of Christ’s Mass—a Roman Catholic observance.[3] Sure, that’s not what people think of, but that is what it means. I personally detest the idea that Christ is resacrificed in the Mass. I use the word only as a societally recognizable word. I propose we biblically minded saints use the idea of the incarnation of the Son of God to express this time—if we choose to celebrate at all. Maybe Incarnation Day, Kenosis Day, He-Stepped-Into-Our-Filth Day, or Immanuel Day. Any name that would help to point to the Savior who humbled Himself to be born and laid in a feeding trough that He might be hung on a cross on our behalf.[4]

My second point is more than a preference.