Well, it’s time for the annual re-fighting of the “War On Christmas.” We have on one side, the devout Christians who insist that we all remember “the reason for the season” and “keep Christ in Christmas.” On the other side, we have a bunch of anti-Christians and anti-religious people who demand that any concession — by government, private industry, or any other body — is tantamount to bringing about a Christian theocracy on America. We have groups and web sites that track “nice” and “naughty” groups who list places who boldly say “Merry Christmas,” versus “happy holidays.”
And in the middle, a whole bunch of us who find the whole thing more than slightly annoying.
I don’t have a dog in this fight. I’m an agnostic, but I’m not hostile to religion. But this argument has been getting on my nerves.
My suggestion: the Christians need to let this one go.
Historically speaking, Christ’s connection to December 25 is pretty sketchy. Based on historical events, He was most likely born in the springtime. The shift to December was done to coincide with the winter solstice (give or take a few days), which was already a holiday among a lot of religions.
Further, it’s my understanding that Christ’s birth — while miraculous — was probably the least significant part of His life. Far, far more significant are His life, His Death, and His resurrection. Those, it seems to me, should be far more worthy of commemoration.
Christmas has devolved into an end-of-the-year celebration, a time for fellowship, exchanging of gifts, and starting a week of doing very little until after the new year starts. And, speaking as a secularist, I think that’s something we can all use, regardless of religious affiliation (or lack thereof).
The commercialization of Christmas (including the hijacking of the Catholic Saint Nicholas as the unofficial “secular” face of the holiday) has been going on for decades, and — let’s face it — they’ve won. The Christmas shopping season has become a key economic factor around the world, and the notion of exchanging gifts on December 25 has far, far transcended the original (well, kinda sorta original) idea of “this is the day we celebrate the birth of the Savior, who was actually born several months later.”
It’s time to let it go. Christmas’ connection to Christianity was pretty tenuous, and it’s been stretched too far. It’s now the big secular holiday, encompassing a lot of things that aren’t that Christian — buying expensive gifts, “Christmas cheer,” and the like. Further, a lot of the pagan Winter Solstice elements — trees, wreaths, garlands, and the like — that are descended from the “celebrate nature” theme.
So, folks, have a happy HannaRamaKwanzMas this year. Go buy stuff, kill a tree, and kick back for a while.
Then, come Easter, we can watch the Christians kick the crap out of the Easter Bunny.