By Jason Menard
OK, that’s it. I’m normally a pretty tolerant guy. I figure you’re welcome to believe whatever you want to believe (or not believe) as long as you’re not hurting or bothering anyone. But when a simple well-meant Merry Christmas has the same effect as hurling a racial epithet, then it’s time that we take a stand.
My stand? Get your Christ out of my Christmas!
There. I said it. Let’s celebrate Christmas for what it actually is – a celebration of joy, love, family, and giving at best. And an orgy of materialism, financial mismanagement, and stress at worst.
Personally, I’d rather focus on the former, but nothing turns me into a Scrooge more than some supercilious Christian looking down on me and chastising me for forgetting the true meaning of Christmas!
Apparently my view of truth differs than others. I thought the timing Christmas celebration was incorporated into the Christian religion was more tied into the pre-existing Saturnalia celebrations (a time when Romans would give gifts to their slaves – you know, to make up for a whole year of abuse, labour, and general flogging) than any sort of commemoration of labour pains!
In fact, let’s just deal with the idea that – despite what the song says – Christ was not born on Christmas Day. But don’t take my word for it – let’s hear what some experts have to say on the subject. For example, in the Gospel of Luke, it refers to the blessed event taking place during the Roman census, when Joseph and Mary visited Bethlehem.
“It has the shepherds tending their sheep in the fields at night. That doesn’t sound like December in the Holy Land,” said Father John A. Leies, professor of theology at St. Mary’s University, deep in the heart of Texas. “They wouldn’t be tending sheep in the winter.”
Certainly makes sense to me. But what else? Well, just do a little searching on the Internet – or even better, in books – and you’ll see that there are a wide range of beliefs regarding the actual timing of Christ’s birth ranging from Oct. 1 – the Day of Atonement, to some point in April or May. Most scholars, in fact, dismiss the idea that Christ was born on Christmas Day.
So, what then is the true meaning of Christmas? Because it seems that many are missing the boat both historically and philosophically.
Is it people grumbling under their breath, chastising those of us who enjoy the less-religious aspects of the holiday season? Perhaps my definition of Christian charity is a little wonky, but that certainly doesn’t seem to be the intent behind that concept.
Unfortunately, we’re so afraid to say anything to anyone that this season becomes a veritable vortex of hurt feelings, aspersions cast, and hypersensitivity. In fact, just this week some misguided, but well-intentioned, judge ordered the removal of a Christmas tree from a downtown Toronto courthouse due to the fact that it may offend non-Christians.
Let’s forget, for a moment, that the Yuletide tree itself is an icon conscripted by the Christians from Pagan religions – you know, just to make the heathens feel more at home once they finally convert. The modern idea of a Christmas tree is something that Santa comes to put presents under.
Ideally, let’s get the Christ out of Christmas. Let’s make it a wonderful celebration for each and every one of us! Let’s commemorate the holiday season by celebrating this wonderful confluence of all race, cultures, and creeds that grace this planet. Let’s make it a celebration of peace, joy, and love – one that crosses all ethnic and spiritual barriers.
In no way should the alleged son of some people’s God be the focus – especially not when his good deeds and life are taken in vain by those who allege to follow his lead. It’s hard to follow the tenets of “Love Thy Neighbour” and “Do Unto Others” when you’re looking down on those who don’t share your interpretation of the holidays.
Hey, I’m sure we can all come to a compromise! You get the Christ out of Christmas, and we’ll drop the name from the celebration. Some people already use Xmas, so we can go that route. Or, we can come up with an entirely new name for the celebration! Whatever. I don’t care. All I want is for us to celebrate life – not chastise each other.
So, to paraphrase Clement Clarke Moore: Now Athiests, now Agnostics, now Muslims and Christians; On Jewish, on Buddhists, on Taoists and Diwalians; Happy Xmas to all, and to all a good night!
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