Monday, December 20, 2010

Finding the Christmas Spirit...kind of?

I always enjoy watching the Harry Potter movies around Christmas. I don't know if it is because for some many years one has been released around this time of year, though the most recent, Deathly Hallow, Part One, is far from Christmas-ey.
But seeing the halls of Hogwarts decked out in garland and glittery snow always gets me in the holiday mood.
As does my childhood classics...

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. All of which make little or no mention of the Real Reason for the Season, that a Child was born unto us, grew, became a man and did his Father's work, dying on the cross for the sins of the world.
This morning I am trying to think of classic Christmas movies that even comes close to celebrating the true meaning of the a few-

It's a Wonderful life- though God, Christ references are hazy- Joseph is the only name mentioned from Heaven in the conversation with Clarence-

Of course there are all the adaptations of A Christmas Carol, twenty one according to Wikipedia, including the Muppets and Mickey Mouse- where three ghosts convict Scrooge after he is warned by his old friend Marley, who is cursed to wander the world in chains, but like all other Christmas stories Dickens and the later screen adapters, scoot around the "Core" shall we say of what Christmas is all about. Gosh it is in the name- CHRIST- mas!
Most of these feel good stories will at some point declare we need to find the Christmas spirit, remember the real meaning, come to an epiphany that Christmas is.....according the Grinch, "more than ribbons and bows", but then the credits roll and it is up to us to figure out exactly what that is!
So what is the source of The Christmas Spirit, why is the hope of this holiday that we will put down our comforts and remember all the rest of the people milling around on the planet with us, what is really the source of this season's good cheer? Well, that God gave us the ultimate gift in his son and because it is a gift we cannot repay, he told us to love others as if we are loving him.
Not everyone believes in God, or the God who holds accountability in his son. There is no declaration in the Bible to remember or celebrate Jesus' birth- Christmas is an ancient "compromise" between the Church and the pagan holidays around the winter solstice. But apparently that is of little concern to most of us, often including me and the "residual" good cheer of the festive feel of the holiday, the pretty decorations and lights and musical cheer captured so well in our classic Holiday movies is sufficient this time of year and to get in to the Core- that this sweet baby would suffer an agonizing death on the cross- for our sins, and we do hold accountability for it, well that might just get in the way of the festivities!!