by Richard Peachey

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“So, are you all ready for Christmas?”

“I don’t get ready for Christmas. I’m a conscientious objector.”

“What! So you’re a Jehovah’s Witness or something?”

“No. I love the Incarnation. I worship and serve the God-Man, the Lord Jesus Christ. But there’s no mandate for Christmas in the Bible. It’s strictly a man-made invention.”

“Wow! Well, I guess you save a lot of money. Eh, Mr. Scrooge?”

“Yes, I save on money — and stress, too. I don’t go ‘Christmas shopping;’ I don’t buy presents or decorations or a tree. I don’t risk my life putting up strings of lights. My MasterCard bill doesn’t go up in January. And I save other people money too, since they don’t spend anything on me. Don’t we already have what we need?”

“So you’re a latter-day Puritan, then? Do you march from house to house proclaiming ‘No Christmas!’?”

“Should I force people to stop doing what they truly want to do? No, we live in a free country. But I would certainly enjoy it if more people realized they could liberate themselves from something they’re not really obliged to keep doing.”

“Isn’t the birth of Christ something to celebrate?”

“When Christ was born, that was certainly celebrated — by angels, by shepherds, and by the Magi. But as wonderful as that event was, the Bible does not require any specific ongoing annual celebration of it. The only regular celebration mandated by the Bible is the Lord’s Supper, or communion, which remembers our Lord’s death for us, and looks forward to his return.”

“What’s so wrong with celebrating Christmas?”

“Even apart from all the add-ons, such as the trivialization — Santa Claus, elves, reindeer, etc. — and the excessive consumerism, there is the issue that Christmas is just a man-made idea. Jesus warned the spiritual leaders of his day against imposing mere human ‘traditions’ on the people of God.”

“He did, eh?”

“One problem is that the traditions of men tend to overtake and nullify the commands of God, as Jesus himself said. You may have noticed that Christmas takes up several months before December, with businesses preparing and churches practising cantatas, etc. But Christmas also keeps our attention for several months after December, with all those bills pouring in!”

“Yeah. Tell me about it!”

“During the Christmas season, Bible studies and Bible classes actually get cancelled! Even in the church, Christmas gets a whole lot more publicity than communion, which is the one celebration actually commanded by the New Testament.”

“Interesting! Well, gotta go. A few more last-minute, um —”

“Gifts to find? Right, I know the feeling. See you soon!”

“OK. Maybe in a couple weeks, when things have settled back down. Hmm. Liberation, eh? Well, Happy Humbug, Mr. Grinch!”

“All the best to you and yours. Enjoy.”

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