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Father George’s Sermon

“Which holiday is Christmas – is it the one when Jesus died or the one when he was born?”  This real question from a real person was an early Christmas gift to me this year.  Like all good gifts, the question was unexpected, made me smile and is something I will appreciate for a long time.

It’s a silly question, right?  Of course, WE know which holiday is Christmas, don’t we?  But think about it for a minute. If you were from another planet and were suddenly plopped down anywhere in the United States over the past week, you would see lights and decorations, people shopping, carrying bags with presents and saying, “Merry Christmas” to each other, some with a happy lilt, others with automatic perfunctory, and others with firmness hinting at righteous anger.  “Merry Christmas!”  You might see a bumper sticker or hear someone say, “We need to put Christ back in Christmas.”  You might hear Christmas songs like “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas,” “Silver Bells” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”  But none of these would tell you what Christmas is – other than that it has something to do with happy feelings, dreaming, snow and heart-felt sentiments. So that question, “Which holiday is Christmas” is not a stupid one.  It is true that the person who asked the question doesn’t go to a church and isn’t a Christian, but they were born and live in the United States, in the Chicago area and have an above average intelligence.  But how could they not know which holiday it is, that it the holiday when Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus?  Well, when the other big holiday for Christians, Easter, is about a bunny with a basket hiding pastel blue and pink colored egg, it’s totally reasonable that someone might think Easter is about celebrating a new baby.  Looking at it this way, it is confusing.”

To read the sermon in its entirety, please click here.