mellicious: pink manicure (winter berries)
[personal profile] mellicious
Col wrote an entry about how we should celebrate Candlemas instead of Christmas, on the premise that what you want to do this time of year is drive the darkness away. I don't think it'll catch on but I like the idea. I was thinking about this issue because I've been addressing what I still call Christmas cards, although most of the ones I send nowadays usually say "Happy holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas". I've noticed that in internet circles, anyway, there's a lot of interest in celebrating something-that-is-not-Christmas, whether you call it Candlemas or Yule or Solstice or Festivus, or just the "Winter Holidays" (my old employer has used that one the last couple of years). I know a lot of non-Christians feel left out by Christmas, although I never really did even when I stopped being a Christian - I think it's because I loved Christmas as a kid and I don't really have bad associations with it to speak of. Plus, my family was prone to shoving religion down your throat all year 'round, not just at Christmas - for some reason, less so at Christmas, really. And the only part of the Christ story I really like, still, is the Christmas part. It's sort of a sweet story as long as you leave out the bit about Herod slaying infants (and even that part is undeniably interesting), and I have to admit that I still rather like things like kids dressed up as angels and doing silly Christmas pageants, and I like Christmas carols, darnit. It's a hard thing to reconcile.

Since I wrote the paragraph above, somebody else wrote an entry I like about "the reason for the season" and, for one thing, how that doesn't necessarily have anything to do with Christianity. At least part of it is just that name is so loaded, don't you think? Christmas - Christ-mass. It's almost an unsolveable problem, because of that. If you're not a Christian, you don't like that word. If you are a Christian, you're touchy about it. Well, not ALL Christians are, I'm sure. But the ones that are loud about it are, anyway - the "put Christ back in Christmas" crowd. Like practically everything else in American culture, it's all about the big divide between Christians and non-Christians. (That seems to be a peculiarly American thing. Do other countries have this problem, to the degree we do?)

(In honor of Holidailies, or the holidays, or something, I changed my theme to a really obnoxious - pink!! - Christmasholiday one. If you're seeing your own theme instead of mine, you can see the obnoxious one by clicking here. I dunno, we'll see how long I can stand it.)

Date: 2008-12-09 06:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm with you. So much of "Christmas" is actually pagan symbolism, and the reason Christmas is in December is not the birth of Christ, but celebrating the winter solstice! I have long argued that Christmas is also a secular, cultural holiday that has nothing to do with Christianity - which is why I'm still willing to say "Merry Christmas" and do things like put up a tree, lights, and listen to carols (yeah, I like them too!). As a result, there's nothing to feel left out of as a non-Christian! I no longer classify myself as a Christian (hello, Humanism!), but still celebrate the holiday in a secular, cultural way.

Date: 2008-12-09 06:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm atheist and I still celebrate Christmas. It's what I grew up and it's a major part of my culture. Even though it's not my faith it's still pervasive in my Christian-Judaeo (sp) values. I wouldn't be so lucky (or tolerated) as an atheist in some other parts of the world!

Christmas doesn't have to mean the same thing to me as the next person, so I don't feel compelled to call it something else just to make myself (or them) feel "correct".

Date: 2008-12-09 11:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I watched the Charlie Brown Christmas Special again last night. I think it really says it all. Commercialism, pink trees, presents, solstice -- it's going to be a celebration of whatever you really want it to me. I'm a Christian, so for me it's the traditional celebration of Christ's birth, whether it's accurate or not.

Our church is also having a separate service this year on Mond. the 22nd, calling it a Blue Christmas service. I find that ironic because it's also the first day of Hanukkah as well as the Solstice. It's to let people know that not everyone is sunny and happy during this time of year but that we're there to listen, talk, or whatever so you don't feel alone in the world.


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