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Chaplaincy

Wednesday, Third Week of Advent

And what does the Lord require of you? To seek justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.
—Micah 6:8

Christmas 2011: Sacred and Secular

As time goes by, it seems the Christmas season becomes more and more about shopping and holiday parties, and less about reflecting on the season of advent. While many react with a protective attitude of what is ‘our’ holiday, I wonder if that is really what Jesus wants.

Is it all bad? The rapid commercialization and secularization of Christmas? While I may take issue with the increased commercialization of the Christmas season (When did Black Friday become a Thursday?), I'm not sure that the secularization is such a terrible thing. On the one hand, you could consider the secularization of Christmas a sign that the spiritual significance of Christmas is slipping away, but on the other hand, is it possible that the secularization of Christmas represents the Christmas spirit reaching out past the spiritual community and touching even more lives?

I for one believe that Jesus is thrilled with the fact that his birthday culminates a season where people are joyful, spend more time together in community, and delight in giving gifts to their loved ones, friends, and even to strangers. I believe that Jesus wants the loving, redemptive spirit of his birth to touch as many lives as possible. If the secular holiday is more accessible for the masses, maybe Jesus is delighted that so many people can share in the joy and love of the season?

While I firmly defend the sacred foundation and importance of the birth of the Messiah, I think we can also delight in its secular might. In these next few weeks, rather than getting defensive and possessive of Christmas (we'll leave that to the Grinch), lets spread the love of Christ and delight in the joy that his birth brings to so many, in and out of the church. With this compassionate attitude, I'm sure we'll find more joy and maybe even have the chance to tell of Christmas's spiritual riches.

—Nate Taylor ‘11