It’s very well established that Ellen and I both have some sort of mutated Christmas gene that means we get superbly over excited about the festive season.
I’ve come across far too many Scrooges to know that Christmas is pretty much resented by most. But for me, it is truly a magical time of year. The lights, the cold weather, the gingerbread lattes, the Coca-Cola Christmas ad, the decorations, the songs, the films… everything about Christmas is wonderful.
So, I know what you’re thinking… why on earth is this blog titled ‘Christmas Rant’?! Well read on dear readers, read on…
So yesterday (that’s right, October 31st… insanely premature) I was waiting for a friend for lunch. As I walked into town, two minutes away from where I was meeting her, I received a text telling me she was going to be 10 mins late. So I figured, let’s kill some time with some window shopping. I knew exactly where I was headed.
A couple of weeks ago, here in Cardiff, a Christmas shop opened up on St Mary’s Street. Not the type of tacky, horrible Christmas shop… a high-class, fancy Christmas shop with an almost boutique type feel to it. I’d been eyeing it up, but not gone in yet. This seemed like the perfect opportunity.
So in I step, with my headphones in, to have a quick browse while I waited for my friend.
My eyes are assaulted with Father Christmas figurines. They’re everywhere. Every size, every type you could imagine… little ones, big ones, ones to hang on your tree, ones to sit on a shelf. You name it, they had a Father Christmas ornament fitting for it. There were a few snowmen dotted around too. Some signs that read ‘Happy Holidays’. But something felt totally wrong. Like when Coraline heads through the door for the first time. Everything looks the same, but something isn’t right.
Then it dawned on me. As I stood there listening to my Christian playlist on Spotify (Ok, my friend’s worship playlist, because it’s so much better than mine) I surveyed the scene one more time. Where was Christ?
I went to a Christmas youth thing a few weeks ago, and there was a short presentation about what Christmas is all about. It starts with an image of Jesus, then Mary and Joseph, then the wise men and the shepherds, the donkey, the star, Father Christmas, snowmen, mistletoe, presents, Christmas trees, decorations, mince pies, Christmas dinner, tinsel and plenty of decorations, twinkly lights… and suddenly you’re left with a picture crammed full of stuff. So much stuff you can’t see the wood from the trees and you’re left confused as to what Christmas is all about.
I’m sure the shop wasn’t doing that intentionally. A lot of people aren’t Christian and they still celebrate Christmas. They celebrate it for all the stuff. But maybe we need to strip it back to show everyone that Christmas is about the celebration of the birth of our Lord and saviour. That little baby grew up to perform miracles because he is the son of God. He died for us, to save us from our sins.
A lot of people only head to church maybe once or twice a year. I know I used to. But even if you’re not a Christian, shouldn’t Christmas be recognised as this celebration of the birth of our saviour? I wanted to look around that shop and see just one nativity scene on sale. Or a bible verse on a sign. Just one. Just to see that amongst all the stuff, the true meaning of Christmas hadn’t been totally lost. But alas, this was not the case.
So sure, the shop doesn’t want to lose sales from those who don’t celebrate Christmas as the birth of Christ, but would they really lose so many customers just having one or two items on sale? Even if the vast majority of the public didn’t buy them, they would be there as a reminder whilst they bought their Father Christmas and ‘Happy Holidays’ sign.
I’m not saying, that as a Christian, you can’t enjoy the frivolities of the holiday. I recognise what is at the core of this celebration, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be putting up a Christmas tree, enjoying a Christmas dinner on the day and singing very loudly (and very badly) to ‘Step Into Christmas’ when the time comes. Of course the Father Christmas figurines were lovely, I may pop back in and buy one, but I also know that if you stripped all the stuff away, this would still be an incredible celebration.
So I ranted about this last night at some poor fellow Christians and they asked me ‘Did you say anything?’ ‘Ha!’ was my response, ‘I avoided the confrontation, I’ll just blog about it instead.’ But I realised they had an insanely good point. At no point did I take out my ear buds and say what I was thinking. Instead, I just put my head down and left. So they suggested that within my blog I put a call to arms, as it were.
If you have 5 minutes of your time whilst you’re in the city centre, head into that shop, have a look around, and ask them. Ask them if they have a nativity scene for sale. I’m going to head back in and ask. Because maybe, just maybe, if enough people ask, they’ll introduce them into the shop.