Erin Manning has some interesting reflections over at Rod Dreher’s blog on Christmas and “the struggle to live as a serious Christian in modern America.” Terry Mattingly’s review of the book Tinsel reminded her that, annual stories about the “War on Christmas” aside, the real battle against Christmas is waged within each of us:
What kind of War on Christmas is being fought, when within a family a pitched battle may rage over the burning question: white lights on the tree, or colored ones? What kind of War on Christmas is being fought when we find ourselves in debt, yet again, because we succumbed to the siren-song of materialism, and bought and paid for a false vision of piles of gifts under the Christmas tree? What kind of War on Christmas is being fought when people gather with relatives to coo and simper at each other, all the while looking forward to the delicious pleasure of rhetorically shredding each other on the way home? What kind of War on Christmas is being fought, whose generals are pride, envy, avarice, anger, lust, gluttony, and sloth?
That War on Christmas has been fought since the first Christmas, since the Light shone into the uncomprehending darkness, since Herod commanded the Magi to return to him with news of the Child, all the while plotting to kill Him. The darkness that lies buried in the hearts of men rises up each time our fallen natures get the better of us–which they do, when we are more furious over some perceived slight to Christianity miles away from us than over the injustice of hopeless poverty in our own town; which they do, each time we become so buried in the bustle and glitter each December that we forget to lay it all aside and ponder, for a handful of moments, the gift of the Incarnation, the astounding and astonishing reality that to save us from our sorry selves God Himself became Man, and dwelt among us.
Orthodox. Faithful. Free.
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How many times have I succumbed to Wrath over crowds at the mall or long lines in the parking lot, all the while patting myself on the back for avoiding the sin of Greed? I have a long way to go, I’m afraid.
So to do my part to increase the spirit of Christmas around here, I shall now return to my egg nog. Happy fourth day of Christmas, everyone!