Christmas on Mars

Santa Martians.jpg

Last week, NASA successfully landed a probe on the surface of Mars. I know it would have been easy to miss in the flood of White-House-scandal-news, but this was BIG NEWS. This was potentially game-changing, reality-altering news.

Think about it — one day, there will likely be humans on Mars, first to explore it, then possibly to live on it! That’s a pretty astounding thought. For a species which evolved on one planet to eventually find itself inhabiting a completely different planet that is, on average, 140 million miles away is mind-boggling.

I’m a strange person, though, and one of the first thoughts that occurred to me was, “Imagine what it would be like to celebrate Christmas on Mars …” 

And then it hit me like a ton of Mars bricks — What would we SING at Christmas? 

That’s a serious question! Have you noticed how many Christmas carols would need significant revision were we to sing them on Mars?

Exhibit A is the Yuletide favorite, “Joy to the World.” Notice that the joy is for the WORLD, not for other assorted planets. But if you’re celebrating somewhere NOT not on this world, what would you sing? You can’t sing, “Let earth receive her king” lest Mars feel left out of all the joy.

Exhibit B comes from our own Charles Wesley’s pen. He wrote, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” which includes the line, “Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled.” Wouldn’t you feel a little left out of all the peace and mercy if you were on Mars? 

Then there’s Exhibit C, the song, “Angels From the Realm of Glory,” which opens with the words, “Angels from the realms of glory, Wing your flight o’er all the earth; Ye who sang creation’s story; Now proclaim Messiah’s birth.” So are the angels going to make the flight out to Mars to sing the story there, too? 

Why are all the good Christmas carols so EARTH-centric?

Advent songs aren’t any better. Charles Wesley’s hymn, “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus,” sings of Jesus, “Hope of all the earth thou art.” And one of the verses of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” which we typically use as a song to sing during the lighting of the Advent candle, includes the line, “Fill the whole world with heaven’s peace.”

This also raises some interesting theological questions, though. For example, did Jesus come to save ONLY the people of earth? Would intelligent life on other planets require their own Jesus-figure? Or is Jesus a truly universal being?

What if life evolved differently on another planet? Would their “intelligent life forms” also be born with “original sin”?  Would the song, “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” be true for their world, too? “Yet with the woes of sin and strife / The world has suffered long; Beneath the angel-strain have rolled / Two thousand years of wrong.”

I don’t have any really good answers to any of these questions, mind you. I’ll wait until the seminaries start opening degree programs in Interplanetary Theology, but until then, I’m still very concerned about the lack of quality Christmas carols to sing in space.

Well, at least Santa Claus visits all the planets … right? I mean, that’s true, isn’t it? Wait … WHAT???!!!

Report From the Frontlines of the War on Christmas


News Anchor Linda Montgomery: Tonight, breaking news in the War on Christmas — reports of fresh attacks on the meaning of the season. Our reporter, Brett Whiplash, is embedded on the front line, and we have him live with us. Brett, can you hear me?

Brett Whiplash: Yes, I can.

Linda: Tell us where you are.

Brett: I’m here at the Willow Wallow City Mall in the center of town, and I’ve been walking in and out of the stores here and —

Linda: And let me guess. You’re only hearing “Happy Holidays,” right? Nobody is wishing you a “Merry Christmas”?

Brett: Ummm, well no. Plenty of salespersons have wished me a “Merry Christmas.” That’s not been a problem at all. In fact —

Linda: Ahh, but I bet they’re not playing any religious Christmas music, are they? It’s all reindeers and Santa, right?

Brett: Actually, I hear “Silent Night” on the mall loudspeakers right now, as I speak. I’ve heard an impressive number of carols that —

Linda: I’m surprised, Brett. I thought you had breaking news about the War on Christmas. I thought you were going to report that there was a new assault on the season.

Brett: But there is, Linda! That’s what I’m trying to tell you. I’ve spent all afternoon here and all I’ve seen is a mall full of stressed, anxious, and fearful people rushing in and out of stores, spending ungodly amounts of money in an effort to appease their children, parents, and extended family members. Everywhere I look, I see unhappy people, frightened people, busy people. They’re in such a hurry that they don’t even take the time to speak to each other. That doesn’t seem to me to be the “Christmas spirit.” If Jesus was born to be the Prince of Peace, well frankly I don’t see a lot of peace out here.

Another disturbing thing I’m seeing — as people walk through the mall, they’re busy looking at their phones, and we’ve had a number of collisions, spills, and mishaps as people have run into each other while occupied with updating their Facebook status. Those incidents have made people even grumpier than normal, and I’ve heard some raised voices. Once again, we seem to be missing “peace on earth, good will towards all.”

Not only that, but as people pass through the doors out to the parking lot, they pass a number of homeless people. They hardly take the time to even look at them. I thought Christmas was a time of giving and generosity, particularly to those in need. And yet most of the people I see out here aren’t paying any attention to those in need. It doesn’t make sense!

I’ve never seen such a Christ-less Christmas, to be honest. The rush to buy and consume, the greediness, the stress and the anxiety, the busy-ness and commotion —  surely this is not how we’re supposed to celebrate Christmas. This cannot be what Jesus wanted. This just can’t be the way it’s supposed to be. It’s horrible, Linda, a real travesty!

Linda: Well at least the salespeople are saying “Merry Christmas” again! That’s a huge relief. By the way, what can you tell us about this year’s Starbucks coffee cup? Does it use the phrase “Merry Christmas” or something pagan like “Season’s Greetings”?

Brett: What? I don’t, uh, I don’t know … really, that seems beside the point —

Linda: Thank you for your brave reporting, Brett. It’s great to hear that Christmas is back. We have President Trump to thank for that, don’t you think?

Brett: No, actually I don’t —

Linda: That was our investigative reporter, Brett Whiplash, on assignment on the frontlines of the War on Christmas. Next up, a report from the border where refugee terrorists are being turned back before they can wreak destruction in our country. But first, a word from our sponsor …