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Omaha, Nebraska, United States
I am more and more convinced that most congregations die from a staggering lack of imagination. Let's change that. Drop me a line on email or leave a comment if you have thoughts on God, Jesus, congregations, the church or whatever.... I look forward to our conversations.

Monday, November 8, 2010

All Saints' Retrospective

Last year I had the unique opportunity to be with a 20 year old woman who asked me where the word "Christmas" came from? As I approach this upcoming Christmas season, I can only wonder what will come across my wanderings this year.

Gregg Easterbrook, author and columnist of TMQ on ESPN.com, has a section of his column called "Christmas creep." He asks his readers to note when retail stores start putting out products and advertisements for "Christmas." Usually late June, early July has a few "Christmas" decorations around. I keep putting "Christmas" in quotations because it is not Christ's-mass that is being marketed, but rather a banal, consumerified holiday season. Tinsel and ribbons at Target or Walmart in August have as much to do with Jesus' birth and God's love as Satan himself--they are in the story, but they have clearly missed the point!

Since we can no longer count on Christmas to be religious--we lost it being Christian a long time ago--I am wondering if we could keep "All Saints' Day" (November 1) as a Christian holiday? This day has the fortune of coming right after Halloween--which really hasn't ever been a "religious" holiday--so maybe there is a chance for this to not be co-opted by our atavistic consumerism? I mean, it has dead people, babies, people who are healthy, people who are not, good people, not-so-good people, and even a chance for heaven...All-in-all All Saints' Day seems to have some stuff going for it...

Of course, we would have to pay attention to Jesus--and this is where we lose people every time--we would need to see this holiday as the promise of life through death, and living with God as a way of being in this world rather than waiting until some "next" one. We would have to see that all are saints--even the ones who sin--and that sainthood is a gift from a God on a cross rather than an accomplishment of people like us who put him there...

It's been a week since All Saints' Day, and unlike Halloween, I don't have any leftover candy or decorations to take down...and that is the saddest part of the story...if not for all the saints, it is sad for me. May your tables be full and your conversations be true.

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