in the great blog migration, i lost a post i wrote about celebrating christmas. i remember it being quite good, and i’m going to try to revisit it.
christmastime. the word conjures visions of early mornings and wrapping paper, christmas trees and manger scenes, stockings, flutters of hope, and long-standing traditions. the manger scene is what most will tell you is central – the meaning of the season. belief in the divine humanity of jesus.
what about those who don’t believe in the divineness of jesus? who think jesus was pretty cool, but don’t necessarily think he was son of god? the population of people raised on christianity but leaving it behind – atheism, agnosticism, secularism, non-religious – is increasing in the US. this means there is a group of people out there who have celebrated christmas their entire lives, and over time they decide christianity is not for them. do they stop celebrating christmas?
some do. i would wager that most don’t. on top of that, there are non-christian religious who do celebrate christmas (some jewish people do). personally, i think it’s easy to embrace the christmas spirit without believing in the divinity of jesus.
there are a lot of elements to christmas besides the nativity, many of which are religious in nature, many of which are not. symbols aside, one of the biggest parts of this season is family history and tradition behind it. christmas is something a person celebrates every year, and mostly the same way. sure, there are new family dynamics and refined gifting tastes, but ultimately, the bones of christmas remain. this is a difficult thing to suddenly renounce, especially with a long holiday season such as christmas, which we probably spend more time entrenched in that all other holidays combined. how do you say goodbye to something you have been celebrating all your life?
you don’t. in fact, a lot of christmas spirit can be spread without the divinity of jesus and just by being a simple person trying to be good and empathetic in the world. happiness, family, gift giving, caring for others, joy, goodwill to all, peace on earth, hope – none need the divine to be spread as far as christmas cheer can reach.
and that’s what it’s all about, right? even the nativity story is about family, giving, happiness, joy, peace, hope. so while some may scoff at christmas as a religious holiday, it is so much more, and there’s no reason that everyone can’t partake. in turn, it would be nice to accept non-christians and non-religious celebrating christmas without skeptical looks and questions as to why they would celebrate the season.
because what WOULD jesus do? divine or not, he would open his door, hand you a cup of hot chocolate, and invite you to sing christmas carols ’round the tree.