Having already accomplished this tradition for 2009, I was pleased this morning, whilst snowed in from the Blizzard of '09, to find Home Alone 2: Lost in New York showing on ABC Family. It's a pretty good sequel, so I sat down to watch it.
Amongst the absurdity of the situation, screenwriter John Hughes works in his take on the 'True Meaning of Christmas'. Kevin feels remorse for how he has treated his family. His new friend, the pigeon feeding homeless lady tells him that a good deed "cancels out" a bad one. More than that, good deeds count double on Christmas Eve! Which religion's holiday are we celebrating again? Such shallow spiritualism is hardly new, but it brought my attention back to the following blog post my sister-in-law pointed me towards:
BenandJacq in the Blog: Santa Claus.
It's a short post, but very worth reading.
On a foundational level the story of Santa and the story of Jesus are exact opposites. Santa gives based on how good you are. Jesus gives based on how much you admit your inability to be good. And that might be confusing to my child.
None of how much the world celebrates Christmas should be surprising. In fact, you could almost say that turnabout is fair play. When a majority of "Christmas traditions" are non-Christian, either secular or of pagan origins, it's not much good to complain the world is co-opting our celebration when Christians have clearly co-opted much of theirs. Fighting back against the "War on Christmas" is a waste of time. Don't expect the world to be anything it's not.
On the other hand, don't overreact, by wholly minimizing Christmas like the Puritanical or Parliamentarian Protestants (to be fair, the type of behavior associated with Christmas in their time would likely make the most libertine of modern secular Christmas celebrators blanch). The Incarnation of God in flesh is a tremendous and crucial miracle for the redemption and reconciliation of mankind. Lets stop these cultural battles and tend to our own homes, taking care to keep the joy and thanksgiving to be found in Christ's birth first in our hearts.