Have your Christmas traditions become “Same old, same old”? Is your holly not so jolly and you tinsel totally tarnished?
The commercialization of Christmas has taken the day in a direction far from its original foundations.
There’s a word for going far away from where you’re supposed to be. That word is “lost”. Like getting bad directions from your GPS and arriving at the party long after the floors have been cleaned, Christmas has intentionally been sent to the mall taking us light-years away from the true celebration.
So – how do we find our way back to where we got off track? In my experience navigating ships, when our location (or position as we called it) was in question, the first step was to ascertain our position by looking around us, looking for landmarks, looking at our radar screen and checking our sonar to determine the depth of water under us. We would then take that gathered information to my chart table and see where it placed us on the chart (map). If none of the observations determined (fixed) our position, step two was to slow or stop our engines until we could figure out where we were.
What does navigating ships have to do with finding Christmas? Quite a bit actually. Knowing where you’re supposed to be is an important part of knowing where you are – or are not. Let me explain. An intended course from one place to another is called a “track” in navigation. Pencil lines are used to mark out track lines on charts. If the position information talked about in the paragraph above doesn’t place the ship on the pencil line, then the ship is “off track”; we are where we don’t belong. Calculations are made by the navigator to adjust course to get the ship back “on track”.
To be proficient at navigation, I needed to use a bit of geometry and algebra. Now – what does math have to do with finding Christmas? Aside from figuring out credit card balances and comparing sale prices, math can help us get our Christmas back “on track” to what it’s really supposed to be all about. “Radical” in mathematics is a word (from the Latin “radix”) meaning “root”, or basis, or source. A radical is also a datum or axis upon which everything else turns or is based. This is where we get the “radius” of a circle – going from the outer edge to the center.
The bigger and fuller your circle of Christmas activity, the father away you can be from the center of who it’s all about. Jesus was not only a radically different kind of individual during his earthly life, He is also the “radical” of Christmas; the person upon which it is all based – the center of it – the root of Christmas. If your Christmas is feeling flat, maybe you’re “off track”. Stop and look around. Where are you in relation to the true Spirit of Christmas? If what you’re doing to celebrate Christmas has little to do with Christ, maybe you need to change your course. Remember the shepherds in the fields? They didn’t run to the marketplace to go shopping after the angels appeared over their fields. The shepherds ran with no gifts in their hands to Bethlehem to see God’s gift to the world; now that’s a radical approach to Christmas!
© 2016 Curt Savage Media