12.18.2005

The Birth of Santa

I thought it might be appropriate to write about this: Christmas.

I've read plenty of greeting cards, I've seen plenty of ads on church reader boards crying, He's the Reason for the Season, but that doesn't mean I'm all that great at recognizing the Christian aspect of Christmas--I'd like to be, but I'm not. Like Easter, Christmas has become more a holiday about family, and good food, and traditions like baking cookies and picking out trees and so on, for me--I grew up with Nativity scenes, sure, and we read the Christmas Story, and went to church sometimes on Christmas Eve, but somehow all of that was eclipsed by the more tangible, less boring, facets of the holiday.

Like presents. No getting around that one.

And I don't feel all that guilty about this. Christmas has become so commercialized anymore that it's not really a religious holiday, or at least it doesn't feel like one to me, no matter how many pictures of the Baby Jesus show up in ads for Christmas sales, or how many times I get "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" stuck in my head by January 1, and if I wanted to celebrate it as a religious holiday, well, I'd have to go pretty far out of my way to make it not about food and toys and money.

Bugorama wrote a letter to the editor of the Bellingham Herald (read it here) suggesting that Christians who get all worked up about the word "Christmas" being replaced by "Holiday" in the Wal-mart winter sales might be better off spending the weeks preceding Christmas in church, celebrating Advent, rather than at the mall, and I think she's got a great point.

In the Holiday vs. Christmas battle, I think both sides are being a bit silly (and by this battle, I mean the purging of religious Christmas carols from schools, the renaming of Christmas Break to Winter Break, the Happy Holidays override of Merry Christmas and so on). While I agree that names are important, and that it does matter how we label things, I also think it quite sad that all this energy is wasted on such a silly point. If you celebrate Christmas, fine--go celebrate it. If you're into the Holidays, fine. Go celebrate them.

Try not to worry quite so much what your neighbor's up to, that's all I'm sayin'.

As for me, I celebrate Christmas, even though sometimes the meaning gets a little washed out in my travels from family to family and in my last minute dash to buy presents. This is something I would like to change. I think Bug's suggestion of Advent is a good one--it would definately do me some good to spend the weeks before Christmas reflecting on the story of Christmas and preparing myself, really, to celebrate the holiday with a joyful (not stressed-out) spirit.

Of course, as my dad and step-mom say, my family also celebrates the birth of Santa.

7 comments:

Kamara said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Thea said...

Pfff. Spam.

bugorama said...

advent is a truly wonderful season. at holden they celebrate advent fully -- christmas doesn't begin until the 24th. i totally fell in love with advent there. the colors are blue and purple. and everything is quiet and thoughtful. very reflective. it was perfect for the time of year, so dark and snowy. i highly advocate advent. unfortunately, it probably won't "sell" well, therefore never become a part of the public's consciousness. c'est la vie.

thanks for linking to my letter! your thoughts were great too. there is much to be said and discussed in terms of xmas. it's a crazy thing.

that one guy said...

Ok. Two things.

1. Did you see the utterly hilarious comments about this every subject on both "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report"? I almost spit out the cereal I was eating. Very, very funny stuff. Of course, I'm not sure if you watch such pagan shows (I sure don't), but it was pretty funny. Also, remarkably sensitive and, well, correct. Christian's are stupid, oftentimes.

2. Most of our Christmas practices stem not from Biblical sources, but evil, PAGAN practices. Tell THAT to the church that has a huge Christmas tree in their sanctuary.

Ok. Rant all done. Happy Christmukkakwanza.

Michael said...

Besides commercialization, I think there is another reason why Christmas doesn't feel Christian...
-Christ never told us to celebrate His birth. Seems to me that we can't just go around inventing holy days and expect God to accept them as His worship.
-The origins of Christmas are, in fact, non-Christian. The Roman Catholic church had a doctrine of assimilation; when they proselytized a pagan land they would combine pagan rituals with Christian ideas. That is how Christmas was born. The Yule, the birth of the Unconquered Sun, and Saturnalia are just a few of the pagan Midwinter festivals that make up near the entirely of our Christmas traditions. I don't see how this could be pleasing to God, if He is a God that cares about how He's worshiped. (see Leviticus 10)

that one guy said...

so, I left this huge comment the other day, it was like three paragraphs long, submitted it... and it dissapeared. So, just imagine a huge long (semi)intelligent post, and pretend it's from me.

Lord FluffyBunny said...

I'm not one to encourage Christians or any organized religion but on this one, the PC nazis are the villains. By their logic ALL references to ANYTHING spiritual should be censured. But no: they just go after the Christians.