Every year at this time the Facebook statuses, tweets, photos, signs etc start appearing. “Keep Christ In Christmas” they say. People get all freaked out because certain stores no longer allow employees to say “Merry Christmas”, but instead they say, “Happy Holidays”. So what?
For years I felt that this was important too, the whole “reason for the season” concept. After all, being raised Catholic and now a Reformed Baptist in my theology, Jesus is a big part of who I am.
And then I did my research. It was in an effort to back up the whole “reason for the season” argument.
Seems that there were winter and pagan holiday celebrations long before Christianity infused Christ into the equation. In fact, the church used the birth of Jesus as a way to counter those celebrations and convert pagans to their faith. It wasn’t until a few hundred years after Jesus was crucified that the church began to celebrate His birth. The Bible no where indicates that we are to even commemorate His birth. The only remembrance of the Lord that we are instructed to ‘celebrate’ is His death and resurrection. Given the detailed instructions for that, and the lack of any mention of remembering His birth, I think it safe to say that Jesus is not the reason for the season. In fact, He was added to the season by men.
Now for my readers of faith, I am a born again believer. And yes I do celebrate Christmas. I do take part in church celebrations of the birth of Christ. But I also celebrate the whole Santa Claus, Christmas trees, gift giving etc. side of this time of the year. Our zoo decorates with over 2 million lights, and beginning tomorrow evening is the official opening of their “Festival Of Lights”. What is amusing is that the Festival Of Lights is another name for the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. But countless people of faith will flock to the zoo and walk amid the lights and decorated trees, some decked out for Christmas, without even realizing that this is not a Christian celebration.
Originally the birth of Jesus was celebrated on 1/6. But the church moved it to line up with the countless pagan celebrations taking place on or around 12/25.
In other words…again, Jesus was not the reason for the season. The celebrations were all in place before the church moved Christ into the mix.
Santa Claus is given god-like powers. He sees us when we’re sleeping, knows when we’re awake, knows if we’ve been bad or good so be good for goodness sake. That is all very sweet but too often it is used to keep children in line and obedient. Great come December but what about the rest of the year? Not to mention many of those same parents who teach their children about Santa, implying that he is real, will freak out when someone says, “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”, because it removes Christ from Christmas. Give Santa god-like characteristics but get upset when Jesus is ‘removed’ by virtue of a holiday greeting? Seriously? Not to mention that the church was guilty of some pretty un-Christlike behavior through the years if you check out this post about the origins of Christmas, among countless others, when celebrating the Lord’s birth.
Sorry, hijacking myself again.
Many different ‘faiths’ and religions celebrate different things at this time of year. Many of those were in place long before Christ was added. He isn’t the reason for the season, He is ONE reason for the season for SOME people. Christ is important to the Christian celebrating His birth. Others hold this time of year as important too. Maybe Happy Holidays is just fine, as it enables the one wishing the happiness to just wish that, HAPPINESS, to the other. Maybe we should all just relax!
Happy birthday (some folks celebrate those this time of year)
Happy anniversary (and those)
Whatever you celebrate, Happy Holidays!