Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 24th, 2005
It's now recorded in the blogosphere; I've been politically incorrect, at least according to some.  It won't be the first time.

It's on the record. It's my blog and, as stated in the banner for this site, I've promised to write about my adventures in life, work, and spirit.

I know, from my own personal experience, that many people who will celebrate Christmas this year will do so without a clear (or perhaps any) understanding of what it is we truly celebrate at Christmas and why Christmas is a holiday - a holy day.

In the past one hundred years or so, this holy day, has morphed into a commercial free-for-all, and now, often, a source of confrontation. But that's not Christmas; that's commerce.

Christmas is a celebration
.

Christmas is the celebration of the birth of a very special child, the most loved child in all the world - the Christ child, God's Son.

OK, simple enough; it is an occasion to celebrate. But to stop there, is to miss the real story. There's much more to this event than the ordinary birth of  child. It was an extraordinary birth: "For God so loved the world. the He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)

You've probably heard that popular Bible verse before; it's quoted often. The next verse, though, explains the purpose of the birth of Christ:

"For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." (John 3:17)

For many years these verses rang hollow to me. I did not understand them. More truthfully, I did not want to understand them. I did not believe the world needed saving.
I was quite content to celebrate my Jewish heritage with my family and I was equally content to celebrate the Christmas traditions. I looked forward to Christmas and the coming of Saint Nicholas, but I never understood the need for a savior or why gifts were given to celebrate the birthday of someone I did not know. (I took the gifts anyway.) It was not until many years later that I began to search; I wanted to understand what it meant. Once I learned that the term holiday, really meant "holy day" I realized that there was more to be understood. I prayed that God, if he really existed and cared about me, would make himself known to me personally; I prayed that he would help me understand.

Now that I do understand, Christmas means more to me. It is a bittersweet day. It is the celebration of a wondrous event and the greatest gift ever given. It also marks a gift given in great sacrifice.

I'm thankful for that gift, for that baby, and for Christmas. I'm thankful for the people in my life that encouraged me to see beyond the wrapping and presents to the real gift. I'm thankful to God, for redeeming me and for answering my prayers, even when I doubted so much.

There are many things that I can do for myself, teach myself, and buy for myself. I've been given many special gifts in my lifetime, but none as special as the gift each of us celebrate at Christmas.

It's a precious gift, given in love.


If what I've written does not make any sense to you; if you do not understand the meaning of Christmas but know that there must be more than what the media or department stores want you to think [or buy] I hope that you will look further, beyond the distractions of commerce, to the baby, given for you.

I wish you and your family peace, joy, love, and happiness, this Christmas season.

Grace and peace to you,

Eric Mack

Discussion/Comments (5):

Merry Christmas!

Well said and Merry Christmas to you and yours on this Holy Day!

MH

Posted at 12/24/2005 7:43:48 AM by Marshall


Merry Christmas!

Eric,

Are you using public funds to publish "Merry Christmas" (and only "Merry Christmas") in this blog? Are you requiring employees to say "Merry Christmas" (and only "Merry Christmas", regardless of their faith? Are you putting employees in a position where they may be given a negative evaluation for saying something other then "Merry Christmas"?

So long as the answer is "no" to all of these, then you have not crossed into the realm of politically incorrect. No matter what anyone out there on the lunatic fringe of the right try to make people believe, there is nothing more than a tiny lunatic fringe on the far left opposing your right to publicly or privately and on your own behalf say "Merry Christmas", and that left-lunatic fringe gets no traction whatsoever. They are not responsible for any of the publicly-discussed issues regarding certain retail outlets or city displays.

There are, though, those of us well within the mainstream (far closer to the center than we are to the lunatic fringe of either side, anyhow) who do point out that there are certain settings in which issues of governmental endorsement or employer/employee relationship take precedence over anyone's right to say or do whatever they please, but your personal blog is clearly not such a setting. There are those of us in the mainstream who do point out that there are certain settings where a more inclusive greeting is appropriate to avoid conveying hubris through a lack of thought about whom one may be addressing, but your personal blog clearly isn't such a setting.

And so, Seasnos Greetings to all; and I wish you and your family in particular a Merry Christmas and a joyous holiday -- with your political correctness fully intact! ;-)

-rich

Posted at 12/24/2005 8:38:27 AM by Richard Schwartz


Merry Christmas!

I appreciate your perspective, Eric, and the importance of your faith to you. I'm an atheist, but I'm in 100% agreement with you regarding materialism. In my family we've found that getting rid of TV helps in this, and so many other ways. Finally, I'd respectfully add that Christmas, like most Christian traditions, apparently has its roots in much older beliefs (Saturnalia, etc.) Happy holidays!

Posted at 12/24/2005 7:27:27 PM by Matthew Cornell


re: Merry Christmas!

Thank you, Richard, for the well wishes and for the explanation of political correctness. Best wishes to you and your family this holiday season!

Posted at 12/27/2005 2:14:46 PM by Eric Mack


Merry Christmas without the TV!

Matthew,

Like you, our family discovered that getting rid of the TV (Broadcast, Satellite & cable - we still watch selected videos and favorite movies) has not only boosted our productivity but allowed us more time to focus on things that really matter. Thank you for the kind wishes; I'm glad to have you as a reader of my blog. Eric.

Posted at 12/27/2005 2:23:39 PM by Eric Mack



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