Religion in the holiday season.
Oh man. See, I could write a LOT about this. And get myself flamed pretty badly for the trouble. I guess I’m about to let my cranky extremist side show, so please have patience with me and don’t scratch me off your list of friends just yet.
I love the secular aspects of Christmas: trees, Santa Claus, carols, cookies, presents, Christmas lights, etc. Love ’em. And I want to celebrate these parts of Christmas with all of my friends.
But at the same time, I’m uncomfortable with the secularization of it all. And it’s not that I think Christmas is losing its meaning; I don’t. But if I boil it all down as far as I can boil it, I realize that what I feel is resentment.
Because Christmas is a Christian holiday. And really, what right do non-Christians have to take over a sacred day and change it the way they have? Wouldn’t Jewish people be a little ticked if the rest of the world started commercializing Yom Kippur, taking out all of the religious significance and turning it into an excuse to spend money, get a day off work, and sell greeting cards? Wouldn’t Muslims be a little annoyed if we did the same to Ramadan?
And yet, I know that I’d make all kinds of people mad at me if I suggested that non-Christians probably shouldn’t get to claim Christmas as their own.
(Take a look at the name, dudes. It’s Christ’s Mass. Doesn’t get much more religious than that.)
Ultimately, Christmas isn’t about money and presents and LED lights – it’s about candles and hope casting light into one of the darkest nights of the year. It’s about the promise that things can get better, that everything’s going to be all right.
And of course, that’s a universal message… and if it takes a Hallmark card to share that message with people who don’t believe in its origin, then so be it…
It’s not like I actually want to tell my non-Christian friends that they’re not allowed to celebrate Christmas. If only for the sake of the children, I think that would be too cruel at this point in history. The holiday, however and whyever it’s marked, is too important to people of all walks now.
But I still feel like it’s somehow wrong. And I know that I’m a hypocrite. I mean, I don’t want to give up my secular elements of Christmas either. And I don’t want to be a Bible-thumping holiday exclusionist. It’s just… yeah. Something I think about sometimes.