One is kindly and bearded and knows your behavior for the whole year. He’s also present in the minds of millions of young ones by the time December rolls around.
The other is the definition of kindly. He’s also bearded and all knowing.
But here the comparison ends. Because, unfortunately for our souls, we don’t remember Jesus all that well.
Today on Thinking with Somebody Else’s Head, the True Father Christmas.
Like many born in Christian countries perhaps, I grew up with a clear knowledge of the Nativity story. I even played the black Wise Man in my Sunday School’s presentation many years ago where we used black shoe polish to tint my lily white skin. It was an unremarkable production, probably, that nobody but me and the odd other participant even remembers. But it was highly significant nonetheless because it was a version of a story that was being rehearsed and presented in churches large and small at around the same time all around the world. We were remembering in our humble ways the true reason for Christmas. And that made it beautiful.
I don’t even know if they still go to all that trouble in St. Peter’s Anglican Church in my hometown of Victoria, but I hope they haven’t given in to the politically correct mania of excising all the Christian customs in an attempt to make the people from other cultures feel more at home. It is, after all, our customs that make us unique from other cultures. If I’m traveling in Europe, I’m not there to experience Canadian ways of life after all. The ideal is cultural diversity, isn’t it? Not cultural homogenization.
Like I never understood all those British tourists going to the south of Spain and requesting egg and chips.
But this I’m talking about speaks to a bigger point, for it’s not the customs only that are in peril. It’s Christmas itself. Or at least the true Christmas, for the frantic, stressed, commercial, no-parking-in-sight one continues unabated.
So let’s try to explore the real Christmas spirit. And remember if we still can what the Being whose birthday we celebrate at this time was trying to teach us.
At a time in our history when our latest Nobel Peace Prize recipient brazenly prepares us to accept war by stating that we would not see an end to violent conflict in our lifetimes and that he was unable to be guided by the powerful and peaceful examples of Martin Luther King and Gandhi, we can do no better than to call on the example of the greatest of Beings … Jesus Christ.