There seems to be a yearly controversy in Tulsa…the parade that happens on a date close to Christmas. What should it be called? Now, everybody has their opinion about this, and for some reason it is always a big deal. I thought I would throw in my $0.02.
This year of course there are two parades. The Christmas Parade and the Holiday Parade. The new Christmas Parade was started this year because people wanted a parade with the word Christmas in the name. I have to say that from the beginning I honestly thought the Christmas Parade was not a positive thing. There are several reason. Mostly because it is divisive. Ignore the religious aspects for a second. Tulsa, it seems to me, is a divided city any way. Its a small city, but people do not experience much of it (me included), we are very isolated in our small areas. A parade downtown should be an opportunity for people to gather in a part of the city that should belong to everybody, a place that should be common ground. Instead we have two parade, one in the south, one in the north (and the one in the south is at the mall, which is of course all important in a successful Christmas season).
Then there is the whole “Christ back in Christmas” thing. I have never been much of a fan of how we(I) as Christians form our own subculture rather then engaging and redeeming the culture around us. It seems that all this does is create a void in the culture around us, a void of redemption, a void that tells people around us we are scared of, too good for, or better then, them.
We went to the Holiday Parade. It was clearly void of references to Christ (except for all those people on the floats wishing us Marry Christmas). I don’t remember any manger scene or even an angel (but there was a really awesome snowman robot). But, here is the thing: this was by the choice of Christ’s people. All the Jesus stuff was down in south Tulsa at the mall. Instead of being willing to be a part of culture and proclaim Christ along side Cain’s charity for the homeless, a non-religious (or perhaps Muslim, I’m not sure) proclamation of peace on earth, the Salvation Arm’s drive to help the needy, and of course the robot snowman, Christ’s people preached to the choir. We should be joining with these organizations as they work to help those around them, just as we are to be helping those around us. Are we scared that God can’t stand up to the marketplace of ideas?
I honestly am hesitant to post this. Not because I’m worried you wont agree with me, but because it just adds a small voice to something that is already overblown, Everybody should have a parade if they want one I suppose. But, in the end I wish I would engage people around me instead of running away. The Holiday Parade tonight was a stark reminder of that to me.