I have been thinking a lot about Christmas. And not just Christmas in general, but the things which distract us from Christmas. This weekend I preached a sermon about how all of the traditions and parties in the Christmas season can blind us to how God might want to work in our lives during this time of year. This is also a problem for nerds and there are some very specific nerdy distractions of which we need to be aware.
Nerds are nostalgic and love the nerdy things of their past. Christmas is a nostalgic holiday in which we celebrate and venerate all of the traditions from our past. Some of those traditions include all the classic Christmas television specials like A Charlie Brown Christmas and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Nerds can obsess about anything and I’m sure there’s some nerd out there whose Christmas season is built around the annual broadcast of A Charlie Brown Christmas. Or perhaps there’s a nerd who has every Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer toy and performs a live show in front of their house every night in December, like a nerdier and creepier live nativity. These specials and others, like The Star Wars Christmas Special, could pull focus away from Jesus and onto some obscure nerdclinations.
Video games aren’t inherently a Christmas distraction; they can be a distraction year round. Most of the best games, though, come out during the Christmas season. Battlefield 3, Modern Warfare 3, Zelda, Assassin’s Creed: Revelations and Skyrim are just some of the games that have been released in the past month. Publishers release their biggest games near Christmas in order to capitalize on holiday spending. An unintended result of their keen business decision is that their games can pull focus away from little, baby Jesus during this season. I myself have fallen under the spell of Skyirm and find myself trying to spend as much time as possible focusing on Tamriel instead of Bethlehem.
It’s true that there are a lot of specials and video games at Christmas time but there are also a lot of parties. There are a lot of opportunities for social interaction which can often leave nerds restless, weary and drenched in their own sweat. Focusing on and stressing over Christmas parties can be a huge distraction for nerds during the holiday season. Family get togethers and office parties are required during Christmas and can be a source of fear and anxiety for the introverted nerd who just wants to stay home and continue working on his Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer fan fiction. All that fear and anxiety can definitely distract someone from the Prince of Peace’s birth and the goodwill he brought to humanity.
There’s plenty to distract us from Christ at Christmas. It’s easy to get caught up in all the parties, presents and traditions. I love parties, presents and traditions and they are good within the appropriate context. Their appropriate position isn’t before or above Jesus, though, regardless of how nerdy or unnerdy they are.
If playing Skyrim could somehow become a spiritual discipline, though, that would be the best Christmas present ever.
What traditions help or hinder your focus on Jesus during this season?