Monday, November 29, 2004

Let the Pagans Have the Holiday

Rodney Clapp, editor of the best Christian imprint available, Brazos Press and one of the most thoughtful Christian writers in the business offers some wonderful thoughts for Evangelicals, who are always complaining about the destruction of and commercialization of Christmas in his essay "Let the Pagans Have the Holiday."

“I want to suggest that Christians may best reclaim Christmas, indirectly, by first reclaiming Easter. Ours is an ironic faith, one that trains its adherents to see strength in weakness. The irony at hand could be that a secularizing culture has shown us something important by devaluing Christmas. In a way, Christians have valued Christmas too much and in the wrong way. I defer again to Hoffman, who writes,“‘Historians tell us that Christmas was not always the cultural fulcrum that balances Christian life. There was a time when Christians knew that the paschal mystery of death and resurrection was the center of Christian faith. It was Easter that mattered, not Christmas. Only in the consumer-conscious nineteenth century did Christmas overtake Easter, becoming the centerpiece of popular piety. Madison avenue marketed the change, and then colluded with the entertainment industry to boost Christmas to its current calendrial prominence.’“The Bible, of course, knows nothing of the designated holidays we call Easter or Christmas. But each holiday celebrates particular events, and there can be no doubt which set of events receives the most scriptural emphasis.”(“Let the Pagans Have the Holiday,” p. 80.)

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