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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sven Spichiger, Washington State Department of Agriculture managing entomologist, displays a canister of Asian giant hornets vacuumed from a nest in a tree behind him Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. Scientists in Washington state discovered the first nest earlier in the week of so-called murder hornets in the United States and worked to wipe it out Saturday morning to protect native honeybees. Workers with the state Agriculture Department spent weeks searching, trapping and using dental floss to tie tracking devices to Asian giant hornets, which can deliver painful stings to people and spit venom but are the biggest threat to honeybees that farmers depend on to pollinate crops. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Crews vacuum ‘murder hornets’ out of Washington nest, first-ever in U.S.

The nest found in the city of Blaine near the Canadian border is about the size of a basketball

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Staff members at Surrey Pretrial test positive for COVID-19

Ministry of Public Safety says employees tested positive between Oct. 18 and 23

(Image: CDC)
Fraser Health orders Surrey food-processing facility to close amid COVID-19 outbreak

Staff member at Surrey long-term care facility also tests positive for the virus

A reminder to students at Surrey’s Strawberry Hill Elementary to physically distance during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Five Surrey schools reporting COVID-19 exposures, including another at Panorama Ridge

INTERACTIVE TABLE: Search for schools, organize by exposure dates

Upgrades underway at the Sunnyside Reservoir, adjacent to Sunnyside Acres Urban Forest, raised concerns among some residents Tuesday (Oct. 20), however, stewards of the park say everything went off without a hitch. (Tracy Holmes photo)
‘No issue’ with South Surrey reservoir drainage, despite trail user concerns: urban forest steward

Forest visitor taken aback by ‘unprecedented flooding’ of trails

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

BC Hydro map showing where power has been knocked out is dotted with over a dozen outages. (BC Hydro map screenshot)
Thousands without power in Lower Mainland on election day

One outage in Langley and Surrey is affecting over 4,000 customers

file
One dead after fiery crash near Agassiz

Agassiz RCMP report a 56-year-old man died Friday night

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The possibility of the Canadian Premier League expanding to the Fraser Valley has been floated online. (Facebook photo)
Canadian Premier League possibly eyeing Fraser Valley expansion

Soccer league looking to add ninth team to the mix, B.C. markets potentially rumoured

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Most Read