A month ago we had a dinner gathering at a church member’s house. During the dinner, he turned on the radio to a “holiday music” channel for some background music. Naturally, when music is on, I pay a lot of attention to it (for me, there’s no such thing as “background music”… :p). While all the songs were Christmas songs (some of which I like, such as “Grown Up Christmas List”), it was as though they were trying their best to avoid picking any song that mentions Christ’s birth. Absent were even familiar songs like “Silent Night.” I listened and listened for about an hour before I heard “O Holy Light” (ok, ok… I wasn’t being a very good dinner guest that night).
And there are a lot of “HC” going on (HC = “holiday correctness”, kinda like “political correctness”). At work, when we left for our 2-week holiday shutdown, people were saying “happy holidays” to everyone. One person said to another person: “Happy holidays! Happy Hanukkah! Merry Christmas! Happy Kwaanza!” To which the other person replied enthusiastically, “There you go!” One person came by and asked me, “Happy Holiday! What’s your holiday?” I said, “Christmas” (and I felt dumb having to answer that). Then he said, “Ah, right, you’re a Christian.” And then he walked off. I was even more dismayed when I read a blog post by a Christian, who’s trying her best to explain that Christmas is not really about Christ’s birthday because Christ was not born on Dec 25. It’s true Christ wasn’t born on Dec 25, but that doesn’t take away the meaning of Christmas.
I guess Christ’s birth has always been anti-cultural. He was born in a town where nobody had room for Him, in an empire where the King sought to kill him. When people tried to turn the Dec 25 “Winter Solstice” into “Christmas” in an attempt to make it a more “popular” thing to celebrate Christ’s birth, it backfired and actually helped elevate the popularity of Santa Claus and everything else except the birth of Jesus Christ.
But then I guess it’s ok. God is not trying to win any popularity contest.