December 26, 2014

Not a Christian Holiday

I hereby decree…

Christmas is not a Christian holiday.

Well, it’s not.

Yeah, “Christ” is right there in the name, and I find switching the name “Christmas” out with “Solstice” or “Yule” to be really fucking obnoxious. But Christmas is not a Christian holiday. And it shouldn’t be.

There are Christian aspects of it, and that’s how it got its name (in certain languages anyway). There’s the nativity story and the midnight masses. But that’s about it. And that’s far from all there is to the holiday.

I see people getting all up in arms, that they feel being wished a Merry Christmas somehow excludes them because they are not Christian. Which is fucking stupid. Christmas is not a religious holiday. It’s a holiday of lots of stories and symbols of varying degrees of association to the winter solstice. It’s everything this very awesome Cracked article talks about.

What do we do for Christmas? It varies. I go to the late night Christmas Eve church service, but that’s about the extent of any explicitly Christian activities for the holiday. Other than the Christmas carols whose subject is the nativity, but those are just telling stories, right alongside the other songs telling about glowing fog-light noses or sentient snowmen or a man playing the cello while Sarajevo gets bombed. Other than that, it’s a lot of twinkling lights, fuzzy garland, sparkly pine trees, candy and cookies, and of course gift exchange. Much of it is derived from other religions’ winter solstice traditions, but other than that, there’s nothing Christian or otherwise religious here (well, unless you want there to be, but it’s up to the individual on that one). Some aspects are specific to certain cultures or regions, but as a whole, it’s just a worldwide human thing.

So that’s why I don’t get why people think they’re being excluded. They’re human and part of the world, aren’t they?

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