The Faithnetworker Newsletter
Vol. 4. No. 5, December 21, 2003
How Christmas Works
Cool Scripture Cite
"...when the fulness of time had come, God sent forth his Son,
made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under
the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." (Galatians
Hot Internet Site
One of my favorite sites is HowStuffWorks.Com. It is the place I go
when I want to know how something works, obviously. HowStuffWorks.Com
fulfills the deep longing for my inquiring mind (fashioned by the pragmatism
of Western scientific culture). For example, if I go to www.howstuffworks.com/regrigerator.htm,
I can learn the deep mysteries of refrigeration (OK, my Dad had already
told me when I was a kid). But, more importantly, I can link my way
to the Ultimate Question, "How can I tell if the light in my refrigerator
goes off or not when I close the door?" There, I am presented
with not one, but four surefire ways to prove that the light is really
going off when I close my refrigerator door. So reassuring is this
article that I don't even have to follow my compulsion to try one of
the methods; I just trust that they know what they are talking about.
Believe it or not, they even have a page on "How Christmas Works."
Note: In case your were wondering, my Cite Site articles are NOT sponsored
by advertising. They are just what they claim to be: citations from
Scripture and a related (more or less) description of a truly cool
Does Christmas Work for You?
Mark Sibley Jones
What makes Christmas work for you? The Christmas spirit? The religious
feelings engendered by carols and nativity scenes? Getting the right
present (either "getting" in the sense of finding a suitable
gift for the person who has everything; or "getting" in the
sense of receiving)? Or, is it the special drives to provide food for
the homeless or baskets for needy families that does the trick?
It is certainly no news to anyone that Christmas has been co-opted by
commercialism. On a whim, I browsed myself over to Christmas.com and
even Christmas.org, but both URLs took me to sites that were capitalizing
on the financial windfall of the holiday.
What has helped me sort things out, so that Christmas remains meaningful
to me, is to separate the hustle-and-bustle Christmas from the religious
meaning. This allows me to appreciate the Advent emphasis of the coming
of Christ; but not come off like some kind of Scrooge regarding the tinsel
Alas, it is so human of us to take a holiday with such a central life-giving
meaning and overshadow it with distraction. I can't really set my self
above the commercialism of Christmas anymore than I can keep myself from
bringing some kind of self-illusion into my prayer life. It is just too
easy to hide behind those facades of pietism and religiosity: the very
pretensions that Jesus sought to unveil.
Perhaps what makes Christmas work for many of us is precisely this tension
between external display and internal reality. It enables me to sit back
with a cup of coffee and a piece of my wife's Christmas candy and enjoy
the Christmas tree in our living room--and to ponder again the mystery
of the incarnation.