ZYTARUK: Contemplating ghosts of Christmas past

Holy jeepers, of course it’s okay to say “Merry Christmas”

homelessphoto

My wife threw on her best Christmas sweater and hauled me down to South Surrey, to see the dioramas at the 20th Annual Journey of Christmas display at St. Mark Ocean Park Anglican Church.

It was nippy cold out, the lights were sparkly, and the scenes, put together by school children of long ago, were a treat. And then, it was back inside the church for a mug of hot chocolate.

I came across an easel adorned with a story I’d written for the newspaper, published on Dec. 24, 1999, under the screamer headline “Keeping Christ in Christmas.”

Of course, I had myself a read. That’s because good writing is simply irresistible.

So, I guess I’ll give myself permission to plagiarize myself to share an excerpt with you today. Kind of like embarking on an archaeological dig:

“Keep Christ in Christmas. Jesus is the reason for the season. You might have seen these and similar slogans on bumper stickers this year and in years past, during the days and weeks leading up to Christmas.

It’s not just a reminder. It’s a protest. For many Christians, it is deeply frustrating to see their religious holidays so heavily secularized. Jesus gets replaced by Santa at his birthday and a rabbit on the celebration of his resurrection.

It is not every day someone gets raised from the dead.

It’s quite an achievement, really. Imagine if it were you who defeated death, but you got upstaged by a bunny bearing chocolates.

Imagine achieving something so incredibly grand that it warranted dividing the history of humanity in two parts, Before Me and After Me.

Imagine the entire planet getting hysterical 2,000 years after you did your amazing thing, throwing millennial celebrations and consuming historic quantities of champagne.

Then imagine them not knowing why they’re celebrating, or worse yet, not giving a hoot.

If you can imagine yourself in those shoes — being the wallflower at your own planet-wide party — you’ll probably conclude, “It’s not easy being Jesus.”

Many who believe in Christ are deeply troubled by this mass ignoring of Christian tradition at Christmas and Easter.

Many think the world is conspiring to invalidate their personal beliefs.

But, seeing as the world is a pretty big place, most of their protests are generally confined to bumper stickers and letters to the editor around Christmas time, questioning why nativity scenes aren’t allowed in schools, why Jean Chretien’s Christmas cards say “Season’s Greetings” instead of “Merry Christmas,” or why Surrey City Hall decided to rename a Christmas event “Winterfest.”

Certainly there are some secular humanist warriors who would like to see Christ removed from Christmas. They write letters questioning why a newspaper like the Now would bother to publish a story like this.

This movement against Christ in Christmas is parodied in an episode of the popular and sometimes profane cartoon South Park. In it, the townspeople become so “offended” by each other’s traditions and beliefs that they embrace a new, if not-so-sterile, hero called Hanky the Christmas Poo…”

And so on, a much younger, but nevertheless perceptive, Tom wrote in 1999.

So here we are, 19 years later.

Just how far has society wandered into this wilderness since then?

I found that out a few days ago, while enjoying a bowl of soup at a local eatery, by flipping open a copy of Star Metro Vancouver, which somebody had left on the table, to this screamer headline: “THE BIG DEBATE: IS IT OK TO SAY MERRY CHRISTMAS?”

Holy jeepers, really?

Of course it’s okay to say “Merry Christmas.”

In fact, it should be encouraged. Permit me to wish you all a very merry one.



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram  and follow Tom on Twitter

Tom Zytaruk is a staff writer with the Now-Leader. He can be reached at tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com.

homelessphoto

READ ALSO ZYTARUK: Chasing that mysterious Christmas spirit

See below photos of the Christmas displays at St. Mark Ocean Park (Photos: Tom Zytaruk)

homelessphoto

homelessphoto

homelessphoto

Just Posted

PHOTOS: High-flying fun at 2019 Boundary Bay Airshow

Thousands came out for the free annual event on Saturday, July 20

COLUMN: Looking at B.C.’s home support report card

Columnist ML Burke shares highlights from B.C. Seniors Advocate Isobel MacKenzie’s report

Another 250 units proposed for booming block in Clayton neighbourhood

New developments join list of projects popping up near new Salish Secondary, future community centre

Two from Delta killed in two-vehicle crash near Golden

RCMP are investigating the cause of the crash

Police ask for help locating missing men who were last seen in South Surrey

Jeep that Richard Scurr and Ryan Provencher were in has been located unoccupied in Logan Lake: RCMP

VIDEO: Young couple found dead in northern B.C. had been shot, police say

Chynna Noelle Deese of the U.S. and Lucas Robertson Fowler of Australia were found along Highway 97

Family of missing B.C. senior with dementia frustrated with situation, heartened by community support

Nine days since Grace was last seen the question remains: ‘How can an 86-year-old just disappear?’

Unsealed record suggests U.S. man convicted of murdering Vancouver Island couple left DNA on zip tie in 1987

William Talbott is set to be sentenced Wednesday in the murders of Jay Cook and Tanya Van Cuylenborg

Food fight: Liberals, Tories trade shots as pre-campaign battles intensify

Health Canada released an overhauled document that did away with traditional food groups and portion sizes

Okanagan Air Cadet challenges gender-exclusive haircut policy

Haircut regulation inspires challenge around gender identity

Pride flags stolen from Lower Mainland church

Went missing sometime Friday night, says Maple Ridge reverend

25 new wheelchair-accessible cabins open at Cultus Lake Provincial Park

Maple Bay Campground is now home to 25 new wheelchair friendly cabins, a first for BC Parks

VIDEO: Bystander training gains traction as tool to prevent sexual harassment, violence

Julia Gartley was sexually assaulted after an event, and no one stepped in to help

Two brands of ice cream sandwiches recalled due to presence of metal

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued a recall on Iceberg and Originale Augustin brands

Most Read