Ahhh yes. Ho ho ho and so on. I saw a massive blow-up Santa on display at my local Target and it continually was falling over and "attacking" people as they walked past. When it was set right, I noticed a sign that said "Buy me, I'm only 79.99" and I thought, "Now there is the true meaning of Christmas."
I find myself battling more and more with what Christmas is. Let's face it, Christmas is about the presents. It is about getting and giving. We've heard the same 5 Christmas songs done in rock version, and in folk version, and in hip-hop, and alternative, and then back to rock so many times that we don't even hear the words...not that it would mean much to us if we did...(Consider "Silent Night"? Would a 13 year old girl really be delivering a baby silently and calmly? Hard to imagine.)
It's time to face up to the fact that Christmas is more about the $79.99 killer attack Santa than it is about Jesus.
Christmas is one of the only times that we talk about Emmanuel, one of my favourite names for God. It means "God with us". I get a little choked up even now writing about it. I can't help but remember the story of Hagar, who wept as she had been given to her master by her mistress to bear a child. Dutifully she bore a son. She was then cast out in an unloving manner by the pair that had done it. In her agony God came to her. He was her Emmanuel.
So even now as expectations run high for Christmas-you know, the happy family, the good feelings, food, and pressies- while depression is rampant and disappointment is high, Emmanuel is here. He cried, and was overwhelmed. He was disappointed by friends and had nothing. God with us.
But I can't help but feel that this Emmanuel has very little to do with the 79.99 killer attack Santa (just an hilarious side note, it was once pointed out to me that by jumbling the letters of Santa you come up with...well "satan")
Our Emmanuel did not come for us to have presents, but to have life. Sometimes it's easy to get that confused.