THE CHRISTMAS TRAP
The novelist and short-story writer Mary Flannery O’Connor famously said of her home in the southeastern U.S., “I think it is safe to say that while the South is hardly Christ-centered, it is most certainly Christ-haunted.”
That describes how I feel about Christmas in the United States of America.
Americans take all their goodwill and good wishes and shove them into one brief holiday season.
People being who we are, creates inevitably a sort of mental trap. It is an opportunity once a year to check and see how much our loved ones really care about us. How many presents will they give us? How much money will they spend on us? Will they send a card? Will they remember to call? Will they tell us that they love us?
Accompanying these cultural expectations — which I have never found in the New Testament — comes the almost-inevitable converse: the Christmas snub. When loved ones do not give us the right present, or don’t spend enough money, or don’t send a card, etc., we get our feelings hurt. Every year we get this one opportunity to check out our families and test their love for us. I do not think this is what Christ intended. How nice it would be if, instead, we would just love each other every day, all year long, in a Christ-filled way! It might be better than getting a Christmas card.