a couple of days ago i posted an entry that had within it a history channel article on CHRISTmas trees. i had not read the other part of the website on the beginnings of modern CHRISTmas traditions until i saw it mentioned in ben’s blog. i was amazed and challenged by what i read within the article.
it mentioned a change in the tone of celebration of CHRISTmas that happened during the 19th century. before the 19th century CHRISTmas was celebrated with actions of “social justice”. those who had the most did acts of kindness and charity toward those who were in need. it was expected that the needy would receive justice during CHRISTmas. in fact, if someone did not take care of the needy during CHRISTmas there was a decent chance that they would be “terrorized” by those around them. during the 19th century CHRISTmas changed from a holiday of social justice to a family holiday. before the 19th century people celebrated the birth of our LORD by sharing “goodwill toward men”. now we tend to celebrate the birth of our LORD by focusing on our families.
i love the family aspect of CHRISTmas. pam and i had my parents and in-laws over for CHRISTmas this saturday. it was a world of fun. i really enjoy spending all the free time at home and being with my family. yet, i wish we as a society still had more of the “social justice” aspect of CHRISTmas. it would be nice to have at least one holiday that is focused on doing right by all those around us. according to scripture our EMMANUEL came to earth to free us from what holds us in bondage – sin, guilt, fear, etc. i can’t think of a better way to remember that GOD is WITH US than to focus on bring justice to those who are held by economic, social, or political salvery.