“Why I Don’t Believe There is a War on Christmas” was originally published on a Christian Humanist blog of mine that doesn’t exist anymore.
Christian Humanists don’t buy into this fabricated “War on Christmas.” Yes, we believe in Jesus Christ. Sure, it’s great to celebrate His birth. But the whole “Spirit of Christmas” has gotten to be about so much more than its religious purpose. We’ve developed a secular season of good will because of our Christian holiday, Christmas… and it’s perfectly okay to embrace that.
Putting the “Christ” Back in Christmas
I suppose the whole sticking point about Christmas began when greeting card manufacturers and everyone else started abbreviating Christmas as Xmas. And the whole “season of giving” thing got twisted by rampant consumerism, so that the gifts themselves have become more important than the reasons why we give them. Even “good Christians” fall into this trap. For me, I give gifts because I love to see the look on the other person’s face…especially my son. (As I write this, we’re getting ready for Christmas with a 7 year old. Such a precious time.) We should be giving gifts for the joy they bring… and we should be teaching our children to be gracious, and not to get sulky if they don’t get everything they want.
But back to the whole “putting Christ back in Christmas” thing. I got sidetracked. The phrase gets tossed around now because so many Christians are shocked and appalled that retailers and government officials have the audacity to wish people Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas. They cite the political correctness of this maneuver as a dig at their own religion instead of embracing it for what it is…an attempt at inclusiveness that was sorely lacking in years past. “Happy Holidays” is a greeting that includes Christmas. If you’re Christian, it implies “Merry Christmas” wishes. If you’re Jewish, it implies “Happy Hanukkah.” Why is this a problem? Insisting that the entire world recognizes your holiday by specifically greeting you in a manner that excludes others is narcissistic. When did Christians become so selfish? Why isn’t enough to wish each other “Merry Christmas” and let corporate entities include people of all religious leanings in well wishes of the season?
And it’s also okay if there are people who celebrate Christmas in a secular manner without specifically focusing on the birth of Jesus Christ. On some level, they do understand the reason we celebrate. As long as you’re not harming others or imposing on the rights of others, I do not care how you worship, or if you worship at all. It’s a very personal thing, and we all have our reasons for our own religious beliefs and practices. Celebrating Christmas in even a wholly secular manner is still celebrating the birth of Christ.
Modern Christianity’s Passing Acquaintance with Religious History
This whole “War on Christmas” thing is ridiculous for another reason. Let’s not forget that Easter is truly the holiest Christian holiday. There’s also the sticky issue of Jesus not really being born on December 25. Jesus was most likely born in either June or the autumn months. We celebrate Christmas on December 25 because early Christian religious leaders got it in their minds that they would win over the souls of the masses by replacing Pagan holidays with Christian holidays. Christmas was chosen to replace the ancient Roman holiday known as Saturnalia, which involved feasting, the giving of gifts, and masters changing roles to serve their slaves. December 25 was also used by the Cult of Mithras to celebrate the birth of their infant god of light, a striking similarity that we cannot really ignore.
Seeing how we Christians steamrolled right over other religions by imposing our holiday over the top of theirs, it’s highly hypocritical of us to get all hot and bothered about other people daring to acknowledge other religions’ holidays. No one has told any of us that we can’t celebrate Christmas in the manner of our choosing. No one is storming our churches and putting people to death for practicing our religion. No one is making us wear symbols of the cross conspicuously on our clothing so we can be easily identified and rounded up like cattle for the slaughter.
The “War on Christmas” is a self-righteous collective temper tantrum many Christians are throwing because society is finally accepting and recognizing other religious groups and their celebrations. If we would all behave in a truly Christ-like manner, we would realize that it is not the words “Merry Christmas” that are important. It is the loving spirit behind our seasonal greetings that matters the most. So if you would like to wish me a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, a Happy Kwanzaa, a Merry Yule, or even a Happy Festivus, I shall reply in kind and thank you for being cordial to me. I urge everyone else to do the same.