It’s that time of year again! The mood is right, spirits up, we’re here tonight and that’s enough. We’re simply having a wonderful Christmas time.
That is, we would be if some people weren’t constantly cramming religion down our throats. Yes, it seems that even in the year 2014 we still can’t seem to remove the religious element from Christmas, whether it’s people demanding you say “happy holidays” as opposed to the traditional “merry Christmas,” to people reminding you to “Keep the Christ in christmas.”
Well you know what? I say we start keeping Christ out of christmas.
Christmas to me is a time of happiness and joy, a time of giving and caring, and just general goodness. Hell, even in the first year of World War I both sides called a truce on Christmas and shared kindness and good will. But when Christmas is tied to something specific like a single religion, it starts to become exclusive.
Christmas itself may not even be a wholly Christian tradition. Winter festivals, particularly the pagan festival called Yule and the Roman celebration of Saturnalia predates and ran through the early Christian centuries. Yule is a now a word synonymous with Christmas.
I grew up Catholic with the religious side of it. But even as a kid, I was hooked on the commercial aspect, as most kids are, notwithstanding attending Mass because we were told it was “the right thing to do,” something my brother and I rejected as we became adolescents. Later, as I grew up, I became persuaded that Christmas shouldn’t be for Catholics or Protestants but for everyone, that what was valuable about this occasion was a universal spirit of generosity and caring for others.
This is why I think Santa is the only one who should be focused on during Christmas. Santa, Kris Kringle, Father Christmas or whatever you want to call him is more than just a tool for commercialism that is largely associated with this magical holiday; he is a perfect symbol for Christmas. Santa has no creed or hidden agendas. Santa is just a kind, generous man who loves spreading joy to the world. The whole world. Making people happy makes him happy and that’s all he needs. It’s not an obligation, it’s a passion. Think about that scene in the 1994 version of Miracle on 34th Street where the deaf girl is brought to Richard Attenborough’s Santa and he communicates to her in sign language. That is the perfect representation of Santa and the true spirit of Christmas.
Think about it: we were led to believe that Santa visited the house of every person in the world and brought them gifts. And I know it’s not that simple for underprivileged families with kids left to wonder why Santa just up and forgot about them; as adults, knowing where all the magic really comes from it’s easy to lose sight of Christmas’ real meanings because that’s what something specific like religion does, it puts things in one category. In turn, you put things in one category. You buy gifts for your family and maybe a few select friends, but you don’t think to give presents to the world, like Santa does.
Christmas is about bringing a little joy to everyone, everywhere. But including the religious aspect in Christmas removes that ideology, and not just on the part of Christianity. Christmas is something that should be celebrated by all peoples no matter what race or creed. Christmas is a beautiful time of year when things are a little more quiet and peaceful; it shouldn’t matter people’s religious affiliation, sexual orientation, race or any other quantifier that would allow any religion to exclude anyone for any reason. So the next time you wish someone a “merry christmas” remember it’s with a lower-case “c,” and remember the real personification for kindness and good-will to all mankind that comes with christmas.