DFW Editors Contradict Themselves About Meaning of Christmas

When I opened up the Opinion section on Christmas Eve to the editorial page, I almost had to pick myself up up off the floor. As one of the editorials, under the title of "The birth of Jesus according to Luke", was the entire text of Luke 2:1-19 (KJV); nothing more, nothing less. It was a pleasant surprise. But, my pleasant surprise was short lived, because on Christmas day, the editors apparently forgot what they had published the day before and wrote about the "real" meaning of Christmas: family and friends.

Christmas is always a search -- for meaning, for family, for gifts, even for just the right thing to say to the people you care about most.


It's love. It's family. It's hope. It's what people are doing today, coming together in their homes, gathering around Christmas trees, crackling fires and overloaded dining room tables.

So pull your loved ones extra close on this Christmas Day. This is a day for fierce hugs, for saying the things that never quite get said. You've seen just how easy it is to lose someone. One wrong turn in the darkness. One misstep in the mountains.

It's been a sad and frightening time in Oregon. But we've also seen the powerful love of family and friends.

Don't ever stop searching.

But on this day, celebrate all that you've found.

But that isn't what Christmas is about. Christmas is celebrating the birth of Jesus, and the fact the God came to earth in human form to save all of us from our sins.

In his commentary about the Jim Carey movie "How The Grinch Stole Christmas", Chuck Colson makes the following points:

Just what that "little bit more" consists of is left to the reader's imagination. But in the film, the Whos react exactly as the Grinch anticipated: They're outraged that their gifts have been stolen -- and there's nothing left to celebrate. It takes a little girl named Cindy Lou to teach them that Christmas is indeed about a little bit more: Christmas, it turns out, is all about . . . families!

It makes for a pretty lame ending. Saying Christmas is all about families is as hollow as those cards and commercials that claim Christmas is about "love," or "peace," or maybe a six-pack of Miller beer.

The film steals the mystery and meaning of this 43- year-old classic story. But, for Hollywood, this is simply Y2K reality. This year, Americans will spend up to $30 billion on Christmas. What would happen if a real-life grinch really did steal the trappings of Christmas? Would we have anything left to celebrate?

Our consumer culture says the meaning of Christmas is found in parties, presents, and extravagant self- indulgence.

Well, if the cultural grinches have stolen the meaning of Christmas, then -- like the Whos of Who- ville -- we'll just have to get it back. But we mustn't make the mistake of latching onto the wrong thing, as the Whos did. Shopping is not the answer, nor should we be lured into some kind of sacred frenzy of good works either. Good deeds performed for wrong motives and giving gifts to increase our own self-righteousness are empty and vain conceits.

Christmas is about Christ himself. Our celebration ought to include quiet moments in his presence -- thanking him for his sacrifice for us and basking in the gift of his love. If we leave Christ out of the celebration, we are, as G. K. Chesterton observed, celebrating December 25th, not Christmas.

Focusing on people here instead of God is the typical liberal, non-Christian way to take the focus away from where it should be - Christ. Notice that the name of the day is not "family and freinds-mas", it's "CHRIST-mas". And no matter how popular culture tries to change the meaning and remove Christ from Christmas, it will always be there.

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