How the Grinch Stole Christmas this year was followed by that holiday classic Shrek the Halls. Okay it’s not a classic. I am a big fan of the Shrek films, especially the first one. After resisting the urge to watch this show in years past my 11-year old son and I indulged in the guilty pleasure.
It was full of the usual Shrek gags and parody. What interested me was the plot line – Shrek has never celebrated Christmas so he buys a Christmas for Dummies book at ye olde book shop in town. Not surprisingly, the Christmas celebration takes an interesting turn. After Shrek blows up at his well-intentioned friends he confesses that he doesn’t know anything about Christmas or its traditions.
I wondered – how often do I / we assume that others understand our traditions in the church? know the biblical stories we know? understand terms we take for granted? Much has been said about this in church circles and about the need to make our churches welcoming places where we don’t make such assumptions. Yet we – I – do anyway.
I find the Shrek pantheon filled with subversive lessons and this Christmas special is no exception. Who would have thought that a cartoon ogre would remind me that I need to remember that not everyone believes as I do, has experienced what I have? As I think about what I believe this Christmas season I hope I will learn (again) not to assume or presume what others might know and believe. In the process I think I will understand better the what and why of my own faith…