I recall an entry in my very first journal in which I expressed outrage at the controversy over what to call trees in December. Everyone was missing the whole point! Why can’t we all just get along and not react offensively to petty matters?
Never did I believe in Santa Claus as a child, but now working as a nanny I’ve realized that a lot of kids do. They believe wholeheartedly and without a doubt that a fat, red-coated man will shimmy down their flue on the Eve of Xmas (I’d hate to offend anyone) and give presents to the children who are not on the naughty list. People know there should be an emphasis on being “good.” Santa turns it into shallow moralism, but still, we know it’s bad to be bad. From where do these morals emerge? People want to believe in something.
The tree issue and Santa are two things pertaining to Christmas that have always disturbed me. As a twelve-year-old, I knew not everyone wanted to celebrate Christmas for Jesus’ sake but I also struggled to understand why people couldn’t just believe what they wanted and let their neighbors do the same. Each December, I realize more fully that these things that frustrate me are just the enemy’s attempt at deranging what is sacred and holy by turning it into something worldly and self-centered. This is the fallen angel’s goal. If I allow myself to be frustrated or downtrodden about the fleshy sin of the world, it is doubly satisfying for him.
The same concept applies to the materialism that festers in each of us at this time of year. The “season of giving” (a phrase I dislike) melts into a couple months of lusting after what is unattainable or unaffordable. This does not have to be so.
Even though what is precious can be tainted by sin, it can still be beautiful.