Going back to my youth, I had two friends (I will call Jim and Joe). Jim and Joe were friends with each other, as well as, like me, being staunch Christians, but one sticking point was how they viewed Christmas. In this regard they were like chalk and cheese. Jim just loved Christmas and while taking in all the various Christmas paraphernalia never lost sight that this was the day the Saviour was born, that for him was a reason to celebrate. Joe on the other hand hated Christmas, seeing it as the pagan festival it is, exploited for commercial interests, and treated it like any other. Sadly they fell out over this and an assortment of related matters, but are hopefully now reconciled. I suppose my own position is halfway between that of Jim and Joe; I like the religious and social aspects, especially when children are involved, but am not particularly keen on the sentimental slosh and overt secularization that is now the norm.
I got thinking about this when a friend forwarded me an email urging Christians to boycott Tesco: “Tesco have deliberately included a Muslim family in an advertisement about Christmas 2017. ‘However you do Christmas, we’ve got a turkey for you,’ goes the ad. Christmas is a Christian festival, celebrating when God became flesh in Jesus Christ and dwelt among us, which truth Muslims deny. There is more to this, and I found Tesco’s hypocrisy breathtaking:” Some critics have gone further to suggest there has been a Tesco purge by taking out all reference to the Christ child in order not to offend. I have just played the ad (see here) and was pleasantly surprised to find that I rather liked it. As for taking Christ out of Christmas, making it truly and effectively Xmas, that has been happening for years. Providers of Xmas related stuff, including Tescos, are keen to maximize profits and have unsurprisingly succumbed to the spirit of political correctness that have beset Western democracies in recent years, but is not, at least in my view, a reason to boycott their outlets, as much as I regret the reason for the season is being increasingly shoved under the carpet.
I am appreciative of the fact that with some of my staunch Muslim friends (and come to that Jewish, Hindu and atheist friends too) we can and do wish each other Merry Christmas, and quite accept that they should be included in Christmas festivities. While PC types annoy me because of their arrogance declaring who can offend or must not be offended, and is why in belligerent style I blog to give vent to my feelings, I also pity them. Whether the Christmas story is true or not (and I firmly believe it is) the idea of the coming into the world of the Prince of Peace is a story of hope for this trouble world and provides the perfect context for family and friends to come together and show goodwill to all. I am with the reformed Ebenezer Scrooge on this one, and while it is six weeks early I would want to wish my readers “Merry CHRISTmas, one and all”.