Over at Restoring Shalom, Brian Gorman (no relation ; just kidding) has a post on National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation with excellent insights about Christmas and civil religion. (True confessions: he wanted us to watch the movie before church on Christmas Eve; I said I did not think it was much of a Christmas-Eve film, but he [again] proved me wrong.)
Also, in contrast to that kind of civil religion, here is a favorite poem of mine, which I read at Christmas dinner:
The Risk of Birth
This is no time for a child to be born,
With the earth betrayed by war & hate
And a comet slashing the sky to warn
That time runs out & the sun burns late.
That was no time for a child to be born,
In a land in the crushing grip of Rome;
Honour & truth were trampled by scorn—
Yet here did the Saviour make his home.
When is the time for love to be born?
The inn is full on the planet earth,
And, by a comet the sky is torn—
Yet Love still takes the risk of birth.