Blue Christmas

What follows is mini-rant. If you want your warm, fuzzy Christmas feeling pulverized, enjoy the read. I woke up this morning and headed into work, something I haven't done in years on a Christmas Eve. And it really didn't bother me at all.

My commute in seemed pretty normal, except that there were very few people out and about. It's interesting that Christmas Eve has morphed into almost full holiday status. I guess that speaks to the power of Christmas: even the day before it yields to its glory.

And, in relation to all this, I'm just . . . meh.

I don't need a spotlit Linus to quote Luke 2 for me. Nor do I require a triad of paranormal visitors to show me my past, present, an future. It's just that, after more than a decade of ministry, I tire of what we've done to this day. From Black Friday madness to billboards putting words into the mouth of Jesus, the extremes of both the pagan and the holy factions have left me exhausted.

Don't get me wrong: there's still beauty in this season. On Monday I was able to deliver an Explorer-filled load of gift that the folk at Echo collected for needy families. The generosity of this time of year is something I wish I could bottle up and keep throughout the year.

All the other stuff . . . I can tolerate it, I guess. I just lament the overdose.

I'm not saying Christmas is of the devil, but we need to dial it down a bit. The importance that Christians thrust upon this holiday is, most often, displaced.

Jesus is still Jesus when he's outgrown the manger.

We embrace the silent imagery of the newborn baby without a thought to his savage death thirty-three years later. If you're irate about the un-P.C.ness of "Merry Christmas," try channeling your anger towards the person whose sin killed the kid. Yep, that's you.

He was born to die, folks; born to die for you. Perhaps that's why one of my favorite Christmas songs is What Child Is This?. Yes, the lyrics are powerful, but it's the minor key that draws me in. It reminds me that all is not happy and joyous. An ominous cloud hangs over this scene, like the gift of myrrh to a young child.

And this is why I'm a tad blue this Christmas. And that's OK.

Happy holidays.