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The Dark Side of Christmas

How Demons Spend the Holidays

My Dear Globdrop,

As you made perfectly clear, my last letter made you rather nauseous. My closing line “sent chills down your spine and vomit up your throat.” Apparently, you felt comfortable telling me this. Never forget, nephew, you report more to a superior officer than to an uncle. I should hate to remind you.

Although you spoke rashly, I do understand your disbelief. How could I, a commander in his Lowness’s army, end by wishing you a Merry Christmas? Should we not rather feel horror concerning what took place so long ago on the day below all days, which many others avoid like the plague?

I still remember my utter revulsion when news of The Invasion broke. As the humans carried on unaware, we saw it for what it was: an act of war. A junior tempter at the time, I longed for nothing else than to join Screwtape as he stormed in behind our Master. They devoured all the male offspring in their hunt for the child . . . coming but one short. For a time, headquarters thought we succeeded, but he escaped (to Egypt of all places). The trauma of such memories lingers.

But we have not ceded that dark day to the Enemy. While weaker demons turn off their lights and lock the doors the nights before Christmas, the true soldiers have ventured into Enemy-occupied lands to drag unsuspecting souls behind our lines.

How Demons Celebrate Christmas

I suspect we shall always be appalled by the Arrival. Yet, we have grown quite fond of how the humans celebrate the horrid anniversary. We love caroling with them, feasting with them, exchanging presents, decorating, and watching movies. While you would have us take the holiday skulking through the shadows and licking our wounds, we have regained lost ground. Can you not observe our influence?

1. Celebrate ‘Xmas’

Have you not observed how we kept at what we failed to do so long ago — eliminating the child?

The pine trees and presents, mistletoes and twinkling lights, Santa and snowmen, sugar cookies and family cheer — these are Christmas. We’ve hidden the child beneath many straws of hay. Their merriments are inns without spare rooms. These shepherds stay in their fields. Wonderfully have they become magi who swap their gifts with one another, never noticing the bright star that leads to Bethlehem. Behold, Christmas delightfully abridged. We spell it Xmas.

We need not Scrooge at such festivities. Let “visions of sugar plums dance in their heads.” Buy Tiny Tim a turkey. Invite them near to roast chestnuts over the open fire! The infant escaped two thousand years ago, but we have found other ways to dispose of him.

2. Gift-Swap the Child

Now, some insist on holding some form of Christian tradition each year. The religious will not abandon the child. No matter. We merely swap in a sterile, adorable — safe — baby Jesus to think about, sing about, and put up for holiday decorations.

Witness their Christmas baby. Do you see how sweetly he rests in the Virgin’s arms? Observe how docile, how serene, how meek. Do you also see how strangely inarticulate, nonjudgmental, and impersonal he is? Never allow him to grow up. For many, we have kept him as a babbling babe who cares nothing about sin, holiness, or his Father’s glory. Most who look upon him would sooner pet and pamper than bow and worship.

I, for one, love our mangered Messiah! The nativity scene looks more like the Enemy’s Christmas card than his war room. We have replaced “Immanuel” with a commandless, wakeless, vacant babe. He is less than their Champion, less than the Enemy in profane garb, less, even, than a man. Not God-baby, but Gerber-baby.

3. Make Everything Merry

Once we’ve dealt with the child, we must fill the void.

Have you smelled the hope, peace, and joy wafting in the air? Felt the warming sense that everything will be all right? We named it Christmas Spirit. A few sprays of family fuzzies, days off work, gift getting and giving, goodwill toward men, and we replace ancient reasons for “joy to the world.”

Make everything merry. Focusing the humans on their feelings is a sure way to steal that “news of great joy” from your subject. Sentimentalism, nephew, sentimentalism. The mushier their foundation for gaiety, the better. We offer only temporary reprieves. After presents lie unwrapped, living rooms empty, goodwill fades, and work resumes, we can leave them more miserable on December 26 than they’ve been all year.

4. Comfort the Holiday Christians

Finally, nephew, Christmas affords a brilliant opportunity to implement one of our favorite holiday initiatives: twenty-four-hour Christianity. Do you notice how religious they become during this season? We do not mind church attendance soaring. We encourage their playing Christian for a day. They need annual religious check-ins. A little soul dentistry, as it were.

Globdrop, sprinkling some religion into their annual diet lulls their conscience asleep while promising some degree of absolution. The Enemy takes attendance at Christmas, you see, and as long as they make some effort to stop by each year, he surely wouldn’t condemn them along with the non-Christmas-Eve-service-attending heathen. These holiday saints make for delicious Christmas cookies.

Merry Xmas Indeed

Observe our genius, nephew: a time of year designed to remind them of the Enemy’s triumph, repurposed to drive them further away. Despite the vermin’s noise and jubilee, the child is quietly missing from his own birthday celebrations. Busyness. Stress. Presents. Syrupy sentiments. Familial warmth. Good food. It all leaves me dreaming of a dark Xmas.

Still a week away, time remains. Gather with them before the fire. Sing about Rudolph’s red nose, “Jingle Bells,” and how they may have seen mommy kissing Santa Claus. Encourage them to attend their annual church service (check the registry for safe services). Focus their attention inward. Fill their bursting schedules with anything but humble adoration. Let no one look upon the child.

Never let them worship the unsanitized Messiah, or gather around that wretched tree we decorated with the child years later. Do not let them pray together, read Scripture together, invite our dead ones over to spend time together. Keep it good-humored, shallow, safe.

So, a very Merry Xmas to you and yours!

Your festive uncle,
Wormwood