12/25/10

Christmas and Cultural Identity

The Last Refuge of Western Civilization
By: Jonathan Harris

This Christmas season, I've had the opportunity of temporarily working at Barnes and Noble. One interesting thought I had while working- being surrounded by Christmas music, books, and products- was, "I feel like I have something in common with everyone here." Even though I know that most of the people shopping and working aren't Christians in the biblical sense, they are still voluntarily choosing to surround themselves with "holiday cheer." No matter where you go you hear the voices of men hailing the arrival of God. Whether our culture is oblivious to it is really inconsequential. They still habitually act every year as if there is something important about December 25th. Sure, commercialism has watered the message of Christ down; but He is sill there, and has not been ignored on a large scale.

Cultural identity is really about what you have in common with the other members of your particular group. Our culture shares a common identity during the month of December. Unfortunately, we quickly regress to our individual "ghettos" the rest of the year. I feel as though every 12th month we all take a step back in time to copy the traditions of our Christian forefathers, though most of us have no clue what the real implications are. I believe we are in a sense catching a glimpse of what a Christian culture should look like, and use to look like in the Western world. A world in which Christ was honored with our tongues (i.e. "Merry Christmas" during December, and "God bless you" the rest of the year), hands (charity), and feet (church attendance). There is a certain uniformity even in our dress code (greens and reds, sweaters and hats). We have something in common, and it points to God's greatest gift. What a beautiful picture. Have a Merry Christmas!

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