Exactly What Kind of Tree Is This?

Well, it’s that time of year again. Merry or Happy Holidays, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice or whatever you celebrate or do not. I think that pretty well covers everyone.

So, with an ever-changing ethnic and religious landscape, exactly what kind of tree is this? The question has deep and abiding ramifications, yet the answer is simple. It depends largely on your personal preference. For most, this is a fir tree. However some prefer spruce and there are even a few who select from a variety of pine. Fewer still – mostly our southern friends – will enjoy cedar.

Obviously I am having a little fun with a topic that seems to be creating some national discussion… and even in our own household. What should we call this tree? This season? Is there a secret plot (led by the media, the Democratic party, the ACLU and Target) to remove Christ from Christmas? This scenario would probably make many conservative Christians feel better, but I’m not sure it is accurate.

I am an admitted (not yet recovering) techie. I love gadgets. For the most part, gadgets have helped me simplify my life… and lose what little bit of memory I may have had left. After all, if my computer and PDA are going to remember a bit of information, why should I? I will even go so far as to admit that I have become dependent on all of these great tools. I can’t even show up at the gym anymore without bringing my iPod along for the workout. What does that thought have to do with this discussion?

For Christians this high and holy season marks the birth of Jesus. Well, perhaps not the actual birth, but certainly the celebration of that event. He was probably born sometime between April and September as this is the time shepherds are out in the fields keeping watch over their flocks by night. Few would argue (Christian or not) that the religiosity of Christmas has changed in, say, the last twenty years. My own neighborhood demonstrates this truth. We like to drive around and look at the beautiful and varied displays of lights – think National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. These days we are greeted by Santa and Frosty, an occasional Rudolph and a Christmas version of Homer Simpson. Usually these same characters are inflated to at least twice the size of the homeowner’s largest vehicle… it just works out that way. Our culture seems bent on at least expanding the definition of Christmas.

So is it up to Jerry Falwell and James Dobson to save Christmas? Yes! And… not exactly. Yes, it does fall to Jerry and James and Rob and whatever your name is if you are a Jesus-follower. The job of keeping Christ in Christmas is ours. The reason He is not at the center of this holiday anymore is because of so-called Christians failing to keep Him there. There is no conspiracy. It is not the fault of pre-faith people that Jesus is being removed from Christmas. The only way that Jesus gets removed from Christmas is if we who believe remove Him. Christ leaves Christmas when Christ leaves me. And though He never technically leaves me, unfortunately there have been times I have left Him.

So what kind of tree is this? What kind of season are we celebrating? How do we keep Christ in Christmas?

  1. Be proactive, but not like you might think… make sure you understand and practice REAL Christmas.
  2. Don’t be like Herod… his answer was to kill everyone that could even possibly be associated with the Christ – resist the urge to do this in reverse.
  3. Be sensitive to the traditions of others… being sensitive doesn’t eliminate my voice or my understanding. In fact, it probably lends credence to it.
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