"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Paul to the persecuted at Philippi (2:5-11)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Strippedmas

Actually, this post is not about TSA, but you know as well as I the title could fit.

I took my kids to a “Christmas Laser Show” at the science center today.  Now I knew quite well that the show was in honor of the secular Christmas, but we thought we’d have a little holiday fun.  Besides, since we’re science center members, it only costs two bucks and lasers are cool.   So off we went.

The show it self consisted mostly of laser generated symbols drawn on the wall in tune to secular holiday tunes.  Of course any religious overtones were strictly avoided (although Manaheim Steamroller’s God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen made its instrumental way into the show for a minute there… I sang along just for mischief… only my kids could hear, I”m sure.  I’m not going to be rude about it!) and the images floated by free of any context.  I found myself watching the display as if I were a cultural outsider, what did these things mean?

We saw snowflakes and Frosty the snowman… which really have nothing to do with Christmas and probably don’t fly at all in Australia. 

We saw gifts, lots of them.  Ah the secular Christmas icon.  Christmas in about greed and going into debt and status symbols.  Grand.  Christians make a big deal railing against the market frenzy but are really just as likely to buy into it, to put the money where the marketers’ mouths are, as anyone else.  Why don’t we make such a fuss over secular Valentine’s day being about (mostly extramarital) sex instead of a Christian martyr?  Oh nevermind.

But why, without Christianity, give gifts on Christmas at all?  Just ‘cause we like to shop till we drop? (no, most people still find it stressful.)  Because we like getting stuff? (No, most adults buy more for themselves than for others and could do so with or without a holiday, which is why everyone else finds Christmas so stressful… what to get the person who has everything? Ah the big holiday question!)  Mostly I think its for status; we don’t want our boss, friends, family, mailman, etc to think we’re cheap.

And then there’s the fat white Santa and his reindeer and sleigh.  Nevermind that St. Nicholas was probably a skinny Turk.  He was known for giving, for compassion, that much is true. He was also a bishop and a fierce defender of orthodox faith and practice.  So much for the jolly old elf.

In the end, while the lasers were cool, the show seemed kind of vapid.  There was no message, by design. 

I guess the whole thing summed itself up nicely for me by the lady sitting behind me.  Having asked me if this was the right place for the laser show, she proceeded with her party of six to cut in front of me and my three kids and then go on and on about “getting the best seats.”  When the doors opened, in they went, making a beeline for the “best seats” indeed.  We sat right in front of them… and when the theater operator asked “Is everyone in the Holiday Spirit?” I could hear quite well as the party behind me responded “YES!” 

That is the new Christmas, I guess.  Where faith is put in Mastercard and the fruits of the spirit are greed, cluelessness, and emptiness. 

I guess, if that’s your Christmas, I prefer to hear a void “holiday wish” to the profane use of the name of Christ. 

And to all in bloggyland, have a blessed feast of the Incarnation.

2 comments:

  1. I took my grandson to the laser show last Christmas - 9 years old, he was so bored, he wanted to leave early (like nine minutes into the show). Typically, I fell asleep.

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