Wherever you walk, you hear Christmas music in the language of the “country” you’re visiting. In merry old England, a four-person Victorian choir sings traditional carols in lilting harmonies.
Germany’s Oktoberfest area is decked out in stunning Christmas grandeur. In Ireland, upbeat jigs give way now and then to a lone bagpiper who plays beautifully somber carols.
In Italy, which has a sculpted Nativity scene, there is also, disappointingly, a stage show entitled “Miracles,” where traditional Christmas carols are subsumed in a humanistic score of lesser, modern music.
I knew we weren’t in Bethlehem anymore when three women strolled on to the stage dressed in flowing, golden gowns and began singing about the “miracle” of the human spirit and “one world” platitudes while dancers in white leaped about. Had we stumbled into a United Nations-sponsored globalist celebration?
At one point, the lead singer wails, “I believe in the power of you and I.”
Cathedrals, with their soaring, heavenward spires, include gargoyles to remind us of man’s imperfection; perhaps Christmas Town’s “Miracles” show performs the same function. Or maybe comedian Jerry Seinfeld persuaded park officials to give a nod to the secular, anti-Christmas parody “Festivus for the rest of us.”
As I watched the crowned diva belt out another New Age anthem, it was as if Lucy van Pelt’s unrealized “Christmas Queen” character from “A Charlie Brown Christmas” had taken over. Linus would have shaken his head, and said, “That’s NOT what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.” In 2 Timothy 3:5-7, the apostle Paul warns of being fooled by man-centered claims of virtue, “having a form of godliness but denying its power.”
The modern mind, which loves seeking truth but fears finding it, is ingenious in devising ways to eject God from polite company. Flannery O’Connor’s 1952 Southern Gothic novel Wise Blood features a poor, lost grandson of a preacher who inspires a con man to create the Holy Church of Christ Without Christ. The idea is to have the trappings and benefits of church, but without Jesus. It doesn’t work.
In the Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis paints a picture of a cold world where God has been replaced by man’s magical substitutes. It’s a place where it is “always winter, but never Christmas.”