ZYTARUK: Contemplating ghosts of Christmas past

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

Christmaszytaruk column so let it be done

Just Posted

Surrey RCMP detachment. (Contributed file photo)
RCMP investigating report of shots fired in South Surrey

Police say they have not yet found evidence to confirm incident

Bucketheads – A Star Wars Story is being filmed near the 19000-block of 16 Avenue in South Surrey. (Mychaylo Prystupa photos)
Star Wars fan film ‘Bucketheads,’ shot in South Surrey, makes its debut

Volunteer initiative features new LED screen technology

Surrey RCMP is releasing sketches of a suspect in an “indecent act” at the Coyote Creek Elementary playground on April 30, 2021. Police said the suspect was clean-shaven “during some interactions” and on “other occasions had stubble outlining a goatee and mustache.” (Images: Surrey RCMP handout)
More victims come forward after ‘indecent act’ at Surrey playground

Surrey RCMP is now releasing sketches of the suspect

A proposed 29-storey highrise development in North Delta’s Townline neighbourhood is headed to a public hearing on June 8, 2021. (Penmat Mana JV (Delta) Ltd./City of Delta report image)
North Delta highrise proposal headed to public hearing

Council voted 4-3 Monday (May 10) to move the 29-storey project forward

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

BC Housing minister David Eby. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
Eby jabs back against Penticton mayor’s ad urging BC Premier to intervene in shelter dispute

Eby writes that Penticton’s ‘serious’ social issues won’t improve under leadership of the mayor

What3words was first created in the U.K. in 2013 and is credited to saving the lives of outdoor enthusiasts around the world. (Contributed)
‘This is a life saving tool’: App helps paramedics find capsized canoeists near Revelstoke

What3words pinpoints the person’s phone location to a three-meter range

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 rate creeps up again, 600 new cases Wednesday

One more death, 423 people in hospital with virus

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham takes questions in the B.C. legislature in 2017. (Hansard TV)
UPDATE: B.C. will fund another year of fresh fruit, vegetables, milk in schools

John Horgan government working on school meal program

Vancouver mayor-elect Kennedy Stewart addresses supporters in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver mayor says there’s no time to redo details of drug decriminalization plan

Kennedy Stewart says a federal election could see the small window of opportunity close on the city’s bid for an exemption from criminal provisions on simple possession of small amounts of drugs

Premier Mike Horgan received his first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. (Facebook/John Horgan)
More than 50% of people eligible in B.C. have received 1st vaccine dose

‘We’ve made extraordinary progress together over the past few weeks,’ says Premier Horgan

Most Read