Well, it’s that time of year again. The time of year when many of us celebrate what used to be referred to openly as Christmas. You know, when we celebrate the ‘reason for the season’ … Christ! And, as it goes almost every year, I have a bone to pick with the church! Now, before I go any further, please know, this is a tongue-in-cheek, humorous, sarcastic side of me that comes out this time every year. It is in no way personal but I’m going to get it out of my system and see what, if any, response I get. Who knows … maybe someone will even agree with me. You see, it’s the Christmas tree.
Over the span of my life as a Christian, it invariably happens. Whether it be the churches that I have been a member of, or churches that I have visited with relatives during the Christmas season, THERE—on the ‘stage’, is a big, beautifully decorated, wonderfully lit, Christmas tree. Some have beautifully wrapped, shiny boxes with huge ribbons underneath the tree. Why, I’ve even seen the ‘human Christmas tree’. I’ve walked into many a church to be greeted by mammoth sized trees in the foyer, decorated to the hilt. I can honestly say the only other place I’ve seen more poinsettias in one place is outside the grocery store. There they are … gorgeous red ones and white ones strategically placed for maximum beauty. And with each church, each visit, each foyer, I always ask (under my breath) … “Where’s the nativity scene???”
Oh yes, there usually is one, but you may be hard pressed to find it and may even have to ask where it’s at. Sure enough, tucked somewhere down the hall, you’ll find a nativity scene, or crèche, but oddly enough, it’s almost always out of sight, much smaller and not nearly the center of attention that, in my humble opinion, it should be. THAT’S the bone I have to pick with the church.
Where on earth the Christmas tree ever got its prominent position in the church during the Christmas season, I have no idea. I sure would like to have a talk with the person who came up with that idea. The Christmas tree!?!? Really??? I’d love to see the church that has a huge nativity scene front and center near the pulpit where it belongs, and the Christmas tree maybe … ohhhhhhh, I don’t know, over in the Fellowship Hall or something.
I entitled this blog post, ‘I Give Up!’ because I’ve had to resort to doing just that for the sake of my sanity. I’ve politely argued this point with more church leaders than I care to admit and all for naught. You’ve won, church. Have your Christmas tree right there up on the stage. But as you give your wonderful sermons preparing our hearts for the joyful ‘Good News’ of the season, know this. My heart is out there in the hallway, looking down at a more closely portrayed scene of the incarnate God made man lying in a lowly manger. A picture is worth a thousand words and that picture makes me truly sing Halleluiah!