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Holiday celebrations can be strange

Published 1:36pm Saturday, November 2, 2013

By Dr. James Troglen

I really enjoyed Bob Henderson’s article on All Hallow’s Eve this past Wednesday. If you have not read it, get a copy of The Herald and do so. His words gave me cause to reflect on other holidays and the things we do to celebrate them and how strange we can be.

For instance what about Valentine’s Day? Certainly, it has a Christian context – but please folks! Why do we put wings on a baby and give him a weapon and delight as he shoots someone so they fall in love? How many of you give a tyke a bow and arrow and encourage them to shoot people – and add “It’s good for them, they will fall in love.” Why not give them an automatic weapon and make the whole world fall in love? Puhlease!

What about Halloween? My apology to Bob, but it seems we have degenerated into dedicating a day (or night) to scaring the living daylights out of anyone we can. We even plan it. I saw a television show where a man hides in a black plastic trash bag and then jumps out as people pass by and helps them develop long term heart damage. We even entice them to be scared with candy! I like the video of a guy who sits quietly in costume on his porch, and when a passerby reaches for candy the man jumps up and grabs him. Scary right? Also painful, as the “scaree” punches the “scarer” in the chops and knocks him out. Yea Halloween!

Let’s not forget Easter, with the chocolate bunnies and candy eggs. One lad sadly told his teacher that Easter was the day the Easter bunny arose from the dead (that is not sad it is tragic).

How about Thanksgiving where we teach kids that the highlight of the day is killing a turkey. Yeah, let’s take a hatchet and chase a bird that can’t even fly around the yard. What’s next three-legged cats?

Then there’s Christmas, surely no one can mess up Christmas. Wrong! Everyone from the Peanuts gang to Angry Birds to the M&M guys are breaking into Christmas. Christmas trees, Christmas wreaths some with pink feathers and chili peppers are all around us. Even Santa has begun to cause me some concern. We had a duo in our church called Bean and Bailey this past summer. In their routine they pointed out that Santa fits the profile of a “stalker.” After all, how does the old song go, “He sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been good or bad…” Sounds like a stalker to me. He even gets into our house unknown and eats our food. Okay, maybe they are just cookies and milk or, in our household Twinkies and Kool-Aid (Baptist Holy water), but he’s still there!

What are we doing to our children? Let’s enjoy the holidays but let’s keep them real and grounded.

My favorite holiday is Happy Preacher’s Day where we all get together and send the preacher off for a two-week paid vacation to Hawaii. OK, OK, I tried.

Let me share my favorite one with you, one you can’t go wrong with:

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:6-14).

Dr. James Troglen is pastor of First Baptist Church of Wetumpka.

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