Countdown to Xmas #6

Bloggified by Jake on Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas is not just a marketing opportunity for Best Buy and Walmart. It's also Christianity's big recruiting drive. The lights and decorations and music are all around us, be we Christians or Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, or atheists. But unless you fall into the first category, you can count on someone asking you why you're participating if you don't believe in Jesus.

In short, Christianity, which prides itself on having a Christian attitude, likes to treat Christmas time with less maturity than my four year old son when he has a toy he doesn't want to share with his sister. "Hey, that's our holiday. Don't put those twinkling lights on your house unless you're willing to accept that Christ, who was God made flesh, was born of a virgin and gave his life that you might have eternal life!" It's as though "Jingle Bells" contained the Lord's Prayer in it. And the most obvious ploy, "Only Christians should be allowed to get presents!"

Oddly enough, midnight Christmas mass or other religious ceremonies might be best closed to atheists, but instead the church and your most religious family members will openly try to get anyone to attend. But regardless of what Christians may wish was true, most of the traditions surrounding Christmas either have become secular or, in many cases, started out as secular (or non-Christian), were co-opted by Christianity, and have become secular again. Decorating trees, putting up lights, hanging missletoe, and singing carols do not require a religious test. Nor should they.

The fact is that Silent Night is a pretty song. So is Handel's Messiah, and I don't have to accept Jesus as my savior to sing songs about him any more than I have to be coming straight out of Compton or to honor a vow to not turn around because Der Kommisar is in town to sing either of those songs. Religious or not, the six or seven weeks from Thanksgiving through the end of the kids' winter break is about a lot more than the birth of a Jew born in Palestine 2000 years ago.

All of this was a long winded way for me to say Tim Minchin does a good job of explaining why even an atheist can "really like Christmas" in White Wine In the Sun.

1 sarcastic replies:

Jennifer Juniper said...

Yes. I love this post.

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