Ok, we’ve made it- almost. As we venture into the third week of Advent- the lights are glowing, the stockings have been hung, and every possible Merry Merry gadget has either been strung from Mount Crumpet or rooftop- for all to see. Kind of nice. No, real nice. Even nice enough to give one a Merry Merry feeling- deep down.
Just yesterday, a friend passed along a “Holiday” magazine that she had purchased, one she was hoping would celebrate Christmas traditions like grandma’s old recipes and family stories from long ago. Instead, she was disappointed with only Merry Merry’s. Merry Merry’s?
As she began reading the magazine, there were a few recipes, and yes, even some family stories, too. But, from there, what was included- and missing– told the real story. And for these, I turned to their special “Holiday” calendar. On December 1, a beautiful Menorah- instructing me that the eight day Festival of Lights was beginning. Nice. December 4th brings National Cookie Day. Ok, the deacon likes cookies. And yes, December 8th celebrates Bodhi Day- the day in which we remember Buddha’s Enlightenment. On the 18th, Mrs. Claus herself is encouraged to take a break- in order that she might enjoy a fragrant bath in Chanel No. 5. And as we move nearer to the “day,” perhaps in preparation for what is to come, we are instructed on December 23rd to “take a walk around the neighborhood and enjoy all the holiday decorations.” But it is only when the calendar turns to “the day” that we find the most enlightened description of that day. Ready? “Very Merry.”
So, you ask, what’s the problem? Given the level of educational “enlightenment” in 2010 America, one wonders how, according to the Pew Forum U.S Religious Landscape Survey, the authors of this to be unnamed magazine would know about Bodhi Day and not, you know, the name of that other day? Especially since, according to the study, practitioners of Buddhism in the United States represent just .7% of the total population whereas those who profess Jesus Christ, a mere 70%. Now, please understand that I have nothing against Buddhism; but rather, against a so-called “enlightened” class (in this case- magazine editors) who can’t even be honest about what day December 25th is. But, given that we should always reason from the perspective of charity, perhaps the reality is that they were never taught about this “day” in the hallowed halls of learning from which they came. Although, as much as I can imagine that, I doubt it.
So, what about those lights and stockings and Merry Merry gadgets? And what about those magazine editors (or for that matter) anyone else who cannot bring themselves to say the word, Christmas? Perhaps Dr. Suess’ Grinch offers some insights- the same Grinch who attempted to stop Christmas from coming and who also would rather have not heard that word spoken…
He HADN’T stopped Christmas from coming! IT CAME! Somehow or other, it came just the same! And the Grinch, with his grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling: “How could it be so?” “It came with out ribbons! It came without tags!” “It came without packages, boxes or bags!” And he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was sore. 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!” And what happened then? Well…in Whoville they say, That the Grinch’s small heart Grew three sizes that day! And the minute his heart didn’t feel quite so tight, He whizzed with his load through the bright morning light, And he brought back the toys! And the food for the feast! And he, HE HIMSELF! The Grinch carved the roast beast!
Presumably, without benefit of a university degree or formal theological training, the Grinch came to understand- not only the importance of Christmas day- but also it’s meaning. In the end, he even had the courage to say the word.
And by the way, in the instance that I do not have the opportunity to wish you a Merry Merry, please know that I truly do wish you a Merry Christmas!