Monday, November 7, 2011

Let's Take Christ Out of Christmas

            I say, let’s take Christ out of Christmas. It would solve a big problem for us religious types.

            The problem, of course, is the commercialization of Christmas. Sometime between Canadian Thanksgiving and American Thanksgiving, say in mid-November, the Christmas season begins in earnest. North Americans make pilgrimage to their malls to shop and to see Santa and his little helpers in their crimson miniskirts. None of us is very surprised when our little kids ask if the wise men came to Bethlehem in a sleigh pulled by Rudolph.

            The bottom line is that even though we all dutifully tip our hats to the real meaning of Christmas, all of us know that Christ comes in a poor second to parties and decorations, gift giving and receiving, shopping and credit card exhaustion.

            So, I say let’s turn the other cheek. Instead of letting modern culture squeeze Christ out of Christmas, Christians should just volunteer to take Christ out of Christmas, and pick another day to celebrate his birth. December 25 was always a sort of suspicious date, anyway. It was the Roman Emperor Constantine (312-337) who chose December 25 for Christmas, since nobody knew when Jesus was really born. But he chose that date because he wanted to replace the pagan celebration of the winter solstice, the day on which the sun is “reborn,” with a holy day celebrating another birth. The Romans may have been okay with giving up paganism, but they didn’t want to give up the partying.

            But now so little is left of Christ in Christmas that I don’t think anyone would notice if Christians moved the celebration of his birth to some other date. December 25 could then be officially renamed “Xmas.” Just think of the advantages. Christians wouldn’t be faced with the difficult task of keeping the real meaning of Christmas alive for our children anymore. We wouldn’t have to hassle with conflicts between Sunday School Christmas programs and office Xmas parties. We could open presents on Xmas morning without feeling like we are shortchanging the memory of Jesus’ birth into a life of rejection and suffering. We wouldn’t have to explain how Christmas joy is about a lamb being born to the slaughter rather than about eating as much turkey as we want.

            A less-hyped Christmas would also help us properly stress the celebration that is the real heart of the Christian calendar, Easter. That is, assuming we can hold the line against the Easter bunny and chocolate egg hunts.

            Let’s move Christmas to another day. I think Jesus would approve. It doesn’t much matter what new date we choose for the real Christmas. I’m thinking June 25 might work. You see, my wife’s birthday is December 25, and I’ve already figured out that by honoring her birthday with a gift on June 25, her birthday doesn’t get lost with everything else on Xmas Day.

            And in the end, isn’t that what we want for Jesus too? That he doesn’t get lost?


  1. Why should we celebrate his birthday at all? He never asked us to have any special day for him except for Sunday (and every day).

  2. Do you think this could ever become a genuine movement? A couple of years ago I considered a book writing a book "Let's Move Christmas" and researched possible alternate dates. Then I gave up the idea as too preposterous to ever work. Your blog has started me thinking again. So what do you think, John...could this ever be more than a 2 minute thought?

  3. I don't know if it could be more than a two-minute thought. Starting a movement doesn't require that you know ahead of time that you are going to convince the world. Maybe if 1% of Christians did this the rest of the world would at least notice, give the reasons some thought, and smile. That would be amazing by itself!

  4. Someone asked me what would happen to the liturgical calendar. Well, half of the year, between Easter and Advent, is now "Ordinary Time." Let's put Advent, Christmas, in the middle of that. Call it "Ordinary Advent/Christmas." Even though most people will continue to celebrate Advent where it is now, I'm guessing a lot of people would love the opportunity to do it at some other time as well. It would be a more reflective, focussed Advent. It might catch on, and it would take the pressure off when it comes to complaints about the commercialization of Advent/Christmas. Then, instead of gifts on the new Christmas Day, it could be celebrated with new rituals. Service projects, or food drives, or something geared to addressing the poverty that so many children are born into, or camping to recreate the manger experience (a feast of tents instead of booths?).

  5. But by calling it Xmas, you leave the X or the chi from the Chi-rho Xristos in. Probably should pick another name. Here in Toronto we are having a Santa Parade. Maybe Dec 25 = Santa Day... but Santa means saint and we want to separate Dec 25 from saints and holy ones. Holiday means Holy Day so that won't work. Gift giving day? But that might indicate Christian charity. Looks like taking Christ out of Christmas takes everything else with it.

  6. This Country was founded by men who based the ideals for what this Country should stand for, on Christian beliefs and practices. therefore, if you want to take Christ out of Christmas, you are saying that this Country was founded on "make Believe" beliefs,or ideals and that the constitution is not set up for the good of all citizens. My suggestion for those of you who want to take the Son of God, Creator of your human life, and your Eternal Soul, out of Christmas. Either,go back to the Country you came from, and take your beliefs and Children with you, or if you were born here in the USA.go to another Country that does not tollerate Christian beliefs, or prayer, or practices. I am sure you would find it to have much better living conditions, as well as not having to make decisions on your own for every day life choices. There will be someone else doing that for you, and making sure you do it the way you were told. If you do not care to take part in their pagen beliefs, PLEASE,feel free to speak up, but keep in mind, what you say in other parts of the world, unlike here in the US. it may come at a price that you can not afford. (Not worth losing your head over.)Perhaps Christians here in the US. do not speak up enough, and are too passive, when it comes to standing up for God, and our founding beliefs. Freedom of speach, has become a fighting tool for those who want to speak out against Christians, and Pro Life groups. If you watch the world news, outher countries beat and torchure those who speak freely against the beliefs of that Country.I guess the bottom line is this. If you do not like the way things are done, or the beliefs and ideals of this Country, that God has Blessed for so many years, LEAVE

    1. With all due respect, this is incoherent. The post is tongue-in-cheek, for starters. The founders of the USA were deists for the most part. And Americans believe in freedom of religion, rather than insisting on Christianity.


What do you think?