Is Christmas Really Better today — From My Vault
The following is from my vault of syndicated articles and was originally published December 23, 2003. I think the question I asked is as salient for exploration today as it was then.
I remember Christmas – I remember Santa (or so I believed back then) bringing me a cowboy hat and vest, a two-holster gun-belt complete with two toy Colt .45s, a Gene Autry coloring book and a 64-count box of Crayola crayons.
I still remember how my 7-year-old heart leapt upon opening those greatly desired and eagerly anticipated gifts.
Today, the gift of a holster, toy six-shooters and bullets would be frowned upon. You certainly could not run around the school playground shouting “bang-bang” or “C’mon, you’re dead, I shot you first.”
Today, we are civilized and much more concerned about the safety of our children. To prove it, we have zero tolerance when it comes to bringing any type of toy weapon – or anything that remotely resembles a toy weapon – to school. But, I cannot point to one instance of a schoolchild being murdered, shot or stabbed back then, yet today we hear accounts of same on a near daily basis.
I remember it seemed like an eternity between the first day of Christmas vacation and the last. I remember snowball fights, snow forts and sledding down the hill that was the road we lived on.
Night sledding was the best. Our road snaked its way approximately a half mile down hill. We would sled until we dropped. Children and adults together, although the adults tired quickly. Obesity from eating at Gino’s or McDonald’s was the least of anyone’s concern.
Today, traffic would prevent sledding on the road as we did. And the Christmas vacation is no longer a “Christmas vacation,” it is a “holiday break” – for everyone but believers in Christ, or at the very least those who accept Christmas as His time of birth.
Christians are no longer permitted to universally and publicly demonstrate their faith with nativities, sacred songs and hymns or even the dreaded and prohibitively offensive “Merry Christmas.”
Once again, we must confess that America is better because of this. In the ’60s, people were thankful for the little things and grateful for simple pleasures. Today, people spend themselves into oblivion – Christmas, or rather holiday after holiday, charging and charging. Then they refinance their home a third or fourth time to pay off credit card debt so they can do it again. All under the guise that it makes good sense to get the lower mortgage rate.
People are willing to risk going to jail for shoplifting, stealing and robbery because society says “the holiday” is about buying things. Moms and dads no longer have the time to spend with the children – mom has a meeting and dad is working late. Or at the very least they have something more important to do. How foolish of my generation to believe that Christmas was a holiday to celebrate the birth of Christ, not a holiday to spend, eat and drink ’til you drop.
Yup … all of those expensive gifts, rushing and fighting traffic to grandmother’s house – makes for a much better holiday today.
I remember visiting my grandmother over Christmas. My memories of those special times are the gifts she gave me … truth be told, I have no recollection of her ever buying me more than a card; or in my late teens slipping me a $5 bill, which for her, even at that time, was a lot of money.
But I remember to this day how much I loved her and how very much she loved me. There isn’t a Christmas that goes by that my heart doesn’t hurt because she didn’t live long enough to see her grandson. I had been her favorite and he would have been, too.
But, here again, America is much better off being able to buy, give and receive presents than we were giving and receiving the gift of love.
I look forward to sharing Christmas with our son in church – even as we did back then – soaking in the full measure of God’s unfettered love for us. For our family believes that He loved the world so much that He gave His Son – so that through faith, not respective of color, sex, material wealth, intelligence, suffering or sacrifice, all would be able to partake in the birthday of Christ, face to face with Him, gathered around the throne of His Father.
From my home to all of yours – we pray you will be richly blessed this Christmas. All the best.
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About the Author
Mychal S. Massie is an ordained minister who spent 13 years in full-time Christian Ministry. Today he serves as founder and Chairman of the Racial Policy Center (RPC), a think tank he officially founded in September 2015. RPC advocates for a colorblind society. He was founder and president of the non-profit “In His Name Ministries.” He is the former National Chairman of a conservative Capitol Hill think tank; and a former member of the think tank National Center for Public Policy Research. Read entire bio here