What is the meaning of Christmas? That was the question that NBC’s Community asked last week in an incredibly creative stop motion animation episode that left me laughing. The episode was full of hat tips to great Christmas specials of the past and a few nice shots at the Christian faith.
Shots at Christianity in a Christmas special? Yes.
Are you offended?
The shots that they took weren’t the kinds that you might expect. The most crushing one came from Shirley, whose character is an outspoken Christian. She said, “I am a modern day Christian, I have learned sensitivity and so I say Happy Holidays not wanting anyone else’s religion to feel inferior to mine.”
I laughed. Then, I cried.
Not really. But, I have been thinking about this for the last few days.
Christmas has lost something in the post-modern malaise of mutual worldview affirmations.
Then I remembered last Friday, my son sang in a “Holiday Concert” at his school. They sang Happy Hannukah, Mud Slide, and Up on the Housetop.
Silent Night was played on the piano, no singing.
Something manifestly changed.
A hush came over the crowded cafeteria. You could have heard a pin drop.
Christmas, the moment when God split time one passover many years ago and entered into history. Even today with all of our sensitivity and complacency humanity still becomes silent before the reality that took place when God moved into the neighborhood.
Everyone in that cafeteria experienced something different in that moment than all that had come before. That moment was thick with the holy.
I wish I could sit down with Abed and over a peppermint mocha just talk about the meaning of Christmas.
Maybe I can, maybe there are people all around me looking for the real meaning if I would just open my eyes to see and have ears to hear.