In America, you are taught at an early age to believe in that loveable fat guy in the red suit, Santa. I've always loved Christmas, and everything that Christmas brings, including Santa Claus. While I've long ago learned that Santa isn't real (which I learned a bit late, I believe), Christmas has always been magical for me. When I was younger, our whole family would sing Christmas songs in the living room at night by our fake Christmas tree, I preferring the vocals of O Holy Night and other classics, while the little ones would hum here and there and then suddenly burst "JINGLE BELLS!" when they recognized the song (finally). Then there would always be Christmas morning, where we would rush with wild hair and red plaid pajamas to tear open presents and peek inside our stockings to see what Santa had left us.
While my parents always reminded us that Christ's birth was the reason for the season, many other families skip the real meaning of Christmas altogether. How does America cover this up? I think Santa must take the blame. For people like me, he just adds to the excitement of Christmas, but for some people, he is Christmas.
Santa has become a replacement for Christ. We gave him a kind spirit, a bag full of gifts, and wrote dozens of songs about him. In movies, such as The Polar Express, we are told to have "faith" in Santa and to "believe". It's the Gospel of Christ stripped of Christ and decorated with our media-saturated tinsel and holly. In Shrek the Halls, the message of Christmas is to be with family and friends. While family is special, is that really what Christmas is about?
It's all a mask, like putting concealer over flawless skin. Why mess with a good thing? Our country cannot stand to be led by Christ, so we do everything we possibly can to minimize Christ and maximize profit. That's all Santa really is. That's what "happy holidays" really means. Profit. Consumerism. Buy, buy, buy. Sell, sell, sell. Let's take Christmas, strip it of its worth and beauty, and create our own holiday, worshipping America's consumeristic culture. You can have your happy holidays, I'll have a Merry Christmas.
You see, when I was younger, I would have detailed wishlists every year labeled “101 Things Melissa Needs”. No kidding. All sorts of things would make that list: computer games, dolls, play makeup, and, I must admit, a Jesse McCartney CD, which I thought would make me the coolest person ever, even though I knew nothing about him except that he had a CD. Gift cards didn’t mean much to me until a few years later, when I realized I could actually put that plastic to work for me. Clothes were another thing that never made the list until much later – but I didn’t want anyone to buy clothes for me…how could they possibly have better taste than yours truly? The biggest flaw of my “101 Things” list was the simple fact that nobody ever asked me for it. They either got me something of their own creation or asked what the one thing I really wanted was. Well, how should I know? I don’t have one thing I want – it says right here: ‘101 Things’! That’s 101, baby! Not one. This year, I had no list. Sure, I mentioned gift cards or the last two Twilight books which will of course make my life so much better, but I was blank with ideas. So, the year I had no wishlist, everyone asked me what I wanted. Well, you’re a few years late, I’m afraid. Even so, presents have always been exciting to me – the shiny new toy (or vampire book with fold-out poster) has always gotten me a little more giddy about Christmas. I think Jesus is slowly prodding me to focus on Him as I’ve gotten older, but He needs to keep prodding.
So, as of now, I am almost to the point where I can say, “Jesus, all I want for Christmas is You.”
Then again, what about Christmas breakfast? Christmas brunch? Christmas lunch? Christmas dinner? Christmas second dinner? What about family, red plaid nightgowns, fake trees, ornaments, hot chocolate, and last but not least, what about Santa? (And if you don’t believe in Santa, it’s been scientifically proven that reindeer can fly. I think.) Does Jesus want us to ditch all of that?
Christmas traditions are fun and a great way to spend time with family and get you hyped about the season, but it all comes down to Jesus and His miraculous birth, life, death, and resurrection. So, I ask you – what do YOU want for Christmas?