The Real Meaning of Christmas

I had a thought the other day, and it’s still nattering away at the back of my head, so . . . why not share it? Basically, I was just wondering why people insist on making such a big deal about what Christmas is “really” about. Yes, I realize that by saying this, I might come across as an anti-religious Grinch, but hopefully you regular readers realize that’s not the case. What I mean is that there seems to be a big conflict between the secular part of the holiday and the religious part. It’s as if the two camps look at each other as in permanent opposition.

Can’t we all just get along?

In one corner, we have Santa, his reindeer, elves, Frosty and Jack Frost–the whole gang, armed with presents by the millions. In the other corner, we have the baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, some shepherds and a few kings, plus miscellaneous sheep and angels, armed with peace on earth and goodwill toward men.

Do they have to duke it out each year? I mean, anyone who wants to start arguing that history is on their side is bound to lose pretty fast. The old Christians picked their holidays around then-current pagan traditions, sort of like me saying that from now on December 25th is Bryce Day, and all people celebrating that day are actually celebrating me. (Not a bad idea, now that I think about it.) So because Christians decided to piggy back a holiday celebrating the birth of Christ on to one celebrating food, drinking and partying, we all have to pay for it now by being forced to constantly remember the “real” meaning of Christmas. Heck, December 25th isn’t even when Christ was born. It’s just when we celebrate it. (Real date, according to Mormon theology? April 6th. Just FYI.)

What gets me is that you have all these people turn out in droves to rally about the “real” meaning of Christmas, when to me, being religious isn’t about not believing in flying reindeer for a single week or month–it’s about living the religion year round. Really believing it. I believe in Mormonism 365 days a year, including Christmas. Yes, I celebrate the birth of Christ at Christmas time, and I tell my kids about it. It’s a good excuse to get them at their best behaved (when they’re trying to impress Santa). But in the end, better to have a blast at Christmas with the Santa folks and then live your religion . . . religiously . . . the rest of the year.

I think things would be much simpler if people just decided to let the two celebrations coexist. Open up Christmas to everybody–the Santa part of it, at least. Christians can keep the Christ part going on their own. I celebrate both halves successfully. If people want to celebrate one more than the other, more power to ‘em.

Just don’t tell me I’m doing Christmas wrong.

1 Comment

  • By Anonymous, December 26, 2009 @ 2:14 pm

    Frankly
    I think the two mesh really well… it takes some effort on the parent’s part but my kids get how they all fit together, at least most of the time. And, as a parent I think it is a season about giving, about seeing it through your kids eyes. I do have to remind my kids not to be greedy gus’s though…
    h

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