However you spell it and whatever you call it, seems to me some people still get it all mixed around or even backwards. In any case, even though the Thanksgiving turkey is yet to be carved, Merry Christmas!
So what’s tickled my mind today? An article online (hardly a “news” story) about Humanists and their campaign for a Godless holiday. But before I continue, I need one person in particular (yes, you) to accept that while this disclaimer is about you, the point of the article has nothing whatsoever to do with you or anything we’ve discussed. That’s all. I’d have written this even if we had never talked about altruism. And thanks for clarifying the definition. Now, let’s move on.
Interestingly enough, I learned that Humanists consider themselves nontheists as opposed to atheists. Subtle differences and worth noting. Atheism allows for religious beliefs or practices but excludes the belief in God or gods. Nontheists disallow any religious belief or practice. That’s my spin on the definitions so if I’ve missed something or it needs correcting, please feel free.
So according to this campaign, one should be good for goodness sake and can do so without having any focus on the religious significance of the holiday. To their point, they accept that individuals can be good without having a belief-based moral code to guide that goodness. I can agree with that in part and would even offer in support that there are many who hold to a belief system—even Christianity—who fail to pass the “good” test from time to time. I’m no exception. It could be hard to argue to a Humanist that they need my religious values in order to be good when I fail to be good by that same standard. Ah, am I crazy?
No, it’s a valid point that one can easily argue and support. But being “good” is not the point of Christianity and if anyone believes it is, then they’ve missed the point and do not really understand the faith. But that’s a point for another day.
What gets me on this campaign is that I expect “Christmas Christians” to take offense and to argue the “Reason for the Season” point. The debate will continue as Christmas lights are put up, trees trimmed, stockings hung—and even through the nightmarish shopping experiences on Black Friday. Wait, what’s the reason for the season?
Christmas as observed by a vast majority here in the West is so commercial and secular that it has already become something of a God-less event. Take away the pagan trappings and you have…
What do we have?
Nothing anyone would recognize as Christmas, that’s for sure.
So to the humanists, a doff of the Santa cap to you for making the American Christmas event what it really has become anyway. You have created a campaign that allows for a holiday celebration focusing on merriment, goodness, cheer, etc., without the hypocritical “reason for the season” focus that brings people into churches for the second time that year besides Easter (unless there was a funeral or wedding). For even with the Christian focus, do we spend more than an hour and a half on average in recognition of the birth of Christ? And even if we do, how does it compare with the time invested in decorating, shopping, food preparation, TV or movies, eating, partying, and other secular holiday activities?
Am I anti-Christmas? No.
But I do believe that it’s possible for Christians to get too wrapped around the axle about a holiday that:
- Is unapologetically commercial in nature
- Is not Biblical (as in never mentioned as a day to be celebrated like some days are)
- Is arbitrary as to the date (and is celebrated on different days around the world)
- Is tied heavily to the Winter Solstice
- Is tied to tree worship
- Is tied to veneration of Saint Nicholas, the Bishop of Myra known for gift giving
- Is tied to the mythical Santa Claus and magical elves
Perhaps it’s time for Christians to divorce their religious beliefs from the day as well. Other than the name, there is nothing Christ-like about the day or the celebrations that cannot be honored or observed any other day of the year. For that matter, as radical as it may sound (as if nothing else presented here is radical), don’t Christians observe Christmas and Easter every time they gather in worship? Where would the faith be if Jesus had not been born (Christmas) or died on the cross (Easter)? Christians proclaim their belief in both events simply by being a Christian. There should be no need for a specific day to proclaim it—just as we really shouldn’t need a single day a year to stop and give thanks.