Today I sat with a Catholic young woman discussing Christmas. Her words to me were, "Most children do not appear to know who or what Jesus Christ was or is, let alone what is the meaning of Christmas". She also remarked a little later, "They and their parents seen to think of it as lots of presents, food and Dad getting blotto!"
My good friend over the water in England e-mailed to say he had been listening to a local radio's Christmas show and the host had invited the Anglican Bishop of Birmingham, John Sentamu, to come up and address a few words. My friend was very hurt and disappointed by the good bishop's contribution. He apparently spoke of children getting presents and how exciting that was, and about a child being born. And that was it!
The reality of the Virgin Birth, Crucifixion and Resurrection is largely unknown to too many. The church leaders know it, teachers know it (Two of my children are teachers, including one a religious education teacher teaching 16-18 year olds), and so do very many informed laypeople.
Anyone may bandy a word around without realising it's proper meaning and significance. Sadly this is especially true of Christmas. I have carefully listened to many of the beautiful traditional carols. Again and again I found a number that affirm traditional Christian teaching. But how many know of these things or give then any thought. And if a bishop given a huge audience, both live and broadcast, and doesn't seize the moment then who does?
You keep harping on about the word, you break it into it's two compenent words. I know and you know their significance but the great mass of those who celebrate Excessmass, do they know? The evidence suggests the feast is increasingly secular with only a residual and shrinking recollection of what it is all about. Indeed among many the word Christ is a word used as a profanity in everyday conversation. Does this vulgar use of the word somehow impart the sense that there is a great Christian consciousness among those who so it? Of course not.
Christ's Nativity has become at best a sentimental folk carnival with a nice story about a lovely baby born in a stable. He later was a good chap with a pleasing line in stories about being a good neighbour and met a shocking end! That is the level of understanding of some of the better informed children and adults I come across. The better informed! And you hang all your misplaced pride on the that the festival is still called Christmas? Even that is under attack in Tony Blair's Britain, in the name of bogus 'political correctness'. Schools escewing nativity plays and the like, in case it either offends or fails to include. Of course the children will experience celebrating Eid-al-fitr or Diwali.
If you or I were to draw comfort from the presence alone of the name of feast, then we are both deluded and foolish. Sorry but I am minded of being asked to give a quick description of the difference between neurosis and psychosis to which I replied, Neurotics build castles in the air, psychotics live in them, and the psychiatrist collects the rent. To me you appear to be living in a castle................ Sorry