It’s Christmastime! Which means that it’s time for bloggers and tweeters and Facebook posters to make sure the world knows where they stand on Christmas terminology.
So naturally I had to jump in and share my opinion about the egregious misuse of holiday phrases that I see about this time and I want to give some history and understanding (I hope) to this mess of terms.
There is a difference between a Scrooge and a Grinch!
What? You thought I was going to write a blog post about saying “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays”? Why? Is that a source of contention these days?
Anyway, back to Scrooge versus Grinch. There is a difference. How many of you have heard “you’re such a Scrooge,” or “don’t be a Grinch”? I’ve heard both. That’s because I am. Scrooge that is.
Here’s two quotes that show the difference.
“Nephew!” returned the uncle sternly, “keep Christmas in your own way, and let me keep it in mine.”
“Keep it!” repeated Scrooge’s nephew. “But you don’t keep it.”
“Let me leave it alone, then,” said Scrooge. “Much good may it do you! Much good it has ever done you!”
Obviously, that’s Scrooge, a man who dislikes the whole idea and sees Christmas as just another day of the year. Compare with…
“And they’re hanging their stockings!” he snarled with a sneer.
“Tomorrow is Christmas! It’s practically here!”
Then he growled, with his grinch fingers nervously drumming,
“I MUST find a way to keep Christmas from coming!”
The quote above is obviously from our small-hearted friend, the Grinch. He couldn’t just take it or leave it, he’s down right antagonistic.
That’s why I always say that I’m a Scrooge. Don’t force me to listen to carols before Thanksgiving, don’t make me put up Christmas lights. Don’t force your emotions about Christmas onto me. Let me keep Christmas in my own way.
Many people treat Christ and Christianity in these two ways (there are other ways too, of course). Apathetic people who don’t want to be bothered with religion. It might annoy them when it messes up their daily routine: Chick-Fil-A isn’t open on a Sunday? C’mon! Generally, they don’t think it’s done anything for them and may turn people into sentimental fools.
Then you have those that are actively against it. They want to eradicate Christ and Christianity from culture – take the prayers out of schools, take the 10 Commandments off buildings, make saying “Merry Christmas” politically incorrect. (I did go there). But like the Grinch found, and like Christians should remember, all that’s just outward trappings.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before!
“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store.
“Maybe Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”
If our Christianity is in externals like prayers in schools, the right holiday greeting, or stone commandments (all things that aren’t bad), when those are gone, of course we’re going to get angry. But we shouldn’t. We can still sing. We should still sing like the Whos down in Who-ville.
It’s Christmastime and we remember a child born in a nation that would be politically antagonistic toward him. Herod tried to kill him; the Pharisee’s succeeded.
But Christ didn’t come to win in politics. He came to win over hearts.
And that is where the joy of Christmastime – and Christianity – abounds.