Pen says: "Bah! Humbug!"
Personally, I think he's throwing out the baby with the bathwater here. If the date of Christmas and the Christmas tree had their origins in the pagan past somewhere, I don't see why that matters unless people actually think they're worshipping Saturn or whoever. I don't know exactly when or why the Church chose Dec. 25 as "Christ Mass", but it was a long time ago, and up till the 19th century it was apparently a fairly modest holiday, taking a back seat to Easter. So if you're running up the credit card and drinking too much eggnog on Christmas, I don't think that's Saturn's fault.
Secondly, gift-giving holidays may not be Christian per se, but they aren't an invention of consumer culture either. Cultures all over the world have them as a way of sharing possessions and cementing bonds between friends, relatives, and allies. That's basically what Christmas means to me. It's a chance for me to get together with my far-flung family, celebrate, and think about what the others want and need. It's not Christian, but my family isn't Christian. I don't think that makes it bad, though.
Of course, as Pen says, a lot of people don't enjoy Christmas this way. They get stressed out and spend their money on useless junk that others don't really want. And certainly that's not the right way to do it, and is not Christian either. But I don't think that should slip into a puritanical distrust of anybody having a good time. The pastor at my former church pointed out that Jesus loved going to weddings, which in ancient Judea were huge wingdings with lots of eating, drinking and dancing that could go on for days. You might call it wasteful, but Jesus didn't seem to see it that way. In fact, his most notable act at a wedding was to replenish the booze.
Yeah, yeah, I know weddings have a symbolic meaning in the Gospels. I'm just saying, a big party, with or without an explicit religious purpose, doesn't have to be a bad thing.Posted by Camassia at December 10, 2003 10:22 AM | TrackBack