Pondering the term ‘Cynical Christmas’

It is easy to be cynical about Christmas, and I totally get it. When we look at the origins of all the Christmas traditions

Pipestone Flyer ministerial column

By Jeff Kilmartin Pastor, Wiesenthal Baptist Church

It is easy to be cynical about Christmas, and I totally get it. When we look at the origins of all the Christmas traditions that we hold so near and dear, one can get rather suspicious of it all. Today of course it is an easy matter to google “Christmas Traditions,” with perhaps the addition of the word “origins,” and whole masses of information will come oozing out of the computer screen.

When we do explore the origins we begin to learn about the Saturnalia, the winter solstice, Druids, Scandinavian paganism, fertility rites, and all manner of mythological paraphernalia that seem to have precious little to do with the birth of the Lord Jesus in the town of Bethlehem. The next step is to go on to the absorbing study of how these things became associated with Christmas, and how the ritual of, say, the Christmas tree came to be recognized as a Christian symbol. All very fascinating and interesting, but as I said it can easily lead to cynicism about the central event itself.

Cynicism is not a good attitude with which to look at the world, however, because it tends to blind us to some needed realities. Christmas actually serves as a great narrative arc for millions of such realities. Let me take my own story as “Exhibit A.”

Prior to becoming a Christian at age 21, I was engaged in a life of pride, greed, lust, hatred, anger, lies, and God only knows what else. I had done some pretty bad stuff, and inwardly was filled with even worse. Then I heard the good news that I did not have to live with all that stuff anymore that God could free me from my sinfulness through Jesus. I not only heard it, but I believed it was true and chose to become a Christian. When that happened I became a “new creation;” those sins were forgiven, and I had the spirit of Christ put in me. I did not try to clean myself up somehow that would be impossible but the Spirit of Jesus cleaned me up from the inside out.

All of the things I did prior to then are still a part of my story. If you talk to my mother or any of my siblings I am sure they can tell you lots of bad stories about me. No matter. Today I am a Christian man and I am doing my best to live the way Jesus wants me to live God helping me.

Christmas is a picture of that for all of us. All those pagan symbols are part of our lives before Jesus came along. But they have now all been re-created and given new meaning and significance in Christ; they have been “Christianized,” and are now used when we celebrate the birth of Jesus. This is no different from any individual who becomes a Christian. All that old stuff is still in our lives you can fact-check our origins if you wish. But when Jesus comes into a person’s life it all fades into the background; we are made new. No one denies that we lived that old life, and that we did all those bad things. But they are just part of the story; they are what has been forgiven and forgotten by God.

This is the reality that Jesus came to give us; that despite our past we can be made new by the babe who was born in the town of David.

The Pipestone Flyer has invited pastors and reverends from local churches to write a regular column for the paper.

 

Just Posted

Wetaskiwin liquor store robbed Feb. 21

Two suspects arrested after store employee threatened with bear spray

Vehicle and oversize load collide near South Cooking Lake turnoff

Strathcona County RCMP respond to serious injury collision on Hwy#14

Questionable reffing is becoming the NHL norm

Perhaps mandatory eye tests would help boost officials’ capabilities

Wetaskiwin Friendship Center gains momentum

Wetaskiwin city council reinforces its support behind Friendship Center

Just stop the political correctness stupidity

Seriously, stop ‘peoplekind,’ leave the anthem alone

WATCH: Red Deer celebrates one year out from 2019 Canada Games

Community gathers at Great Chief Park to commemorate Games milestone

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Man accused in death of Winnipeg teen Tina Fontaine not guilty

Raymond Cormier was accused of killing Indigenous 15-year-old and dumping her body in the Red River

Canadian support split on Trans Mountain pipeline debate: Poll

Angus Reid poll surveying Canadians on pipeline stance finds no clear winner

Student protest outside White House a snapshot of American gun debate

Demonstrators take part in a student protest for gun control legislation in front of the White House

Feds can’t do much to fight fake news in Canada

Federal government can’t do much to fight fake news: Canadian Heritage documents

Canada’s Boutin wins silver in women’s 1,000 short track

Women’s 1,000-metre short-track speedskater Kim Boutin wins silver the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics Thursday

Alberta takes out full-page ads in B.C. over strained relationship

It’s the latest move between the two provinces over progress on Trans Mountain pipeline expansion

Toddler swept away in Ontario floods

Toddler missing as flooding forces thousands from their homes in Ontario

Most Read