blogging gobbledygook and such

This post is inspired by Jelly Bean, who commented in one of my recent posts that Christmas isn’t a Christian holiday and expounded on her statement in her Facebook. (Finally, something not about me! I mean, the topic of this post.) You can read more about the reasons why here, link courtesy of JB.

Her remark probably referred to my mentioning that I’m not a Christian, which I added in case the reader was wondering because I was talking about doing Christmas shopping. The reason I added that disclaimer of sorts was as Jelly Bean inferred – that I think Christmas is a Christian celebration.

Now, a former classmate, who’s Christian, once gave a class presentation on why Christmas is not a Christian celebration and gave facts to back her statement, which I found convincing.

Yet, if that were the case, why are there still so many churches celebrating Christmas around the world?

Wikipedia says: “Christmas is an annual holiday celebrated on December 25 that marks and honors the birth of Jesus of Nazareth.”

So to me, that kinda proves my perspective that Christmas is indeed a Christian tradition. I mean, if Christmas isn’t Christian, churches wouldn’t be celebrating the day that honours the birth of Jesus, would they?

But Wikipedia goes on to add: “The date of celebration is not thought to be Jesus’ actual date of birth. It may have been chosen to coincide with the winter solstice, which the ancient Romans celebrated on December 25.”

Put that way, it doesn’t seem very Christianly anymore. 25 December is not Jesus’s real birth date, but it’s celebrated then because it also happened to be the winter solstice. It’s like your family celebrating your birthday one month earlier because it so happens that they feel celebratory one month before your birthday. Doesn’t sound like they’re celebrating it anymore, isn’t it?

Of course, all the other rituals associated with Christmas but are not very Christian in basis does not help in the image of Christmas being Christian either. Santa Claus, reindeers, mistletoes, Christmas tree decorating, carolling, exchanging gifts… they are traditional of Christmas, but I don’t how know Christian is, say, Santa Claus. 😉

I’m not a Christian, so I’m not entirely equipped to convince you how Christian is Christmas (or otherwise). However, I believe that the majority of people who knows what Christmas is has always associated the celebration with Christians, despite the commercialism of this holiday in today’s times. So does that make Christmas a Christian holiday, through its mere association?

This is how I see it: how Christian is your Christmas is, is simply how you celebrate it.

I believe there are Christians out there who celebrate Christmas for its true meaning, without the Santa Clauses and mistletoes. I also know of Christians who indulge in gift-giving, carolling and other traditional rituals associated with Christmastime. Are these Christians less ‘Christian’ for doing all this? Not necessarily; it all boils down to that simple phrase, “it’s the thought that counts” to me. If you celebrate Christmas with God in mind, then I believe your heart is in the right place. If you don’t celebrate Christmas with God in mind, I also believe your heart is in the right place. And if you celebrate Christmas without God in mind, I also believe you have your heart in the right place – just in a different direction. 🙂

I think there are two types of Christmas these days – the commercial one and the one I believe Christians celebrate in – those who do, that is. I like what my another former classmate, Sushi, said about Christmas. Despite Christmas being associated with Christians, many people of different faiths (or faithless) around the world celebrate it together. I don’t think any other holiday have that same effect – not counting New Year’s Eve and Day!


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Comments on: "The Christianity of Christmas" (15)

  1. Christian holiday or not…it still is a holiday! 😀 A reason to step back and celebrate.

    sulz: hehe, yup. 🙂

  2. I have forever associated Christmas with Christians only. In fact I think we are even taught at schools in India that Hindus celebrate Diwali and Durga Pooja, Christians celebrate Christmas and Easter, and Muslims celebrate , Eid and Eid – ul – Fitr ( I dont remember what is the other Eid called, sorry)

    I have always had Christmas celebrations with family friends, been fun to see the caroling and gifts tucked under the tree:)

    But, I guess at the end of the day, Christians seem to go the whole way and do all that’s said to be done during the 9 days of Christmas.

    sulz: yup, that’s what we were taught in school too. with some christians now claiming that christmas isn’t christian, what we were taught now seems quite a generalised assumption but then again, there are christians who believe in christmas.

    is it 9 days? i thought it was 12, as the famous carol goes. 😛

  3. Santa Claus or Saint Nicolas was 4th Century Christian Bishop. The tradition went on to depict him as Santa or Father Christmas .. you can read it here

    About the Christianity in Christmas : Most of the Christian groups does have prayers/Holy Mass on Christmas day celebrating Jesus Birth. Well it may not be the same day, but then its celebrated 🙂
    Being a Christian myself, celebrating Christmas at Church is the first thing we do and then with your family and friends.

    Other things associated with Christmas like Gifts, etc are like any other celebrations.festivals we have all around the world.

    Yes, its not a Christian Holiday… Its a global one.

    sulz: interesting, so santa claus is quite christian! 😀

    hmm, i think christmas is a christian holiday and a global one too. 🙂

  4. Jelly Bean said:

    Well, all I wanted was for people to know what it really is/isn’t. So my mission is accomplished. 😉 Btw here in Malaysia everyone celebrates everything, so all festivals here are common.

    sulz: now that’s a generalisation!

  5. I think Christmas is both a Christian festival and a secular one, and there is a lot of overlap between the two aspects of the festival. It’s not a “pagan” festival as that Bible school link claims, because it is celebrated by Christians to celebrate the birth of Jesus, and is named after him, and contains various Christian traditions. The winter solstice and Yule are “pagan” festivals, but they’re not the same thing as Christmas, even though Christmas was chosen to occur at the same time of year.

    Anyway, I think the real meaning of Christmas is all about generosity and kindness, goodwill etc. Regardless of its origins, the modern festival is something anyone can celebrate, and not necessarily to do with any religion.

    And by the way, it’s definitely the 12 days of Christmas. *sings*♪ On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me – a partridge in a pear tree! ♪

    sulz: good points! 🙂 wow, didn’t know you can sing too. 😉

  6. Christmas is a Christian holiday. What actual day it is celebrated on is meaningless. How it is celebrated will vary depending on the different individuals. Heck even the basic teachings of Christianity varies by sect. That dates back to the bible itself when followers chose to follow the teachings of their favorite apostle. Christmas is the celebration of the old and the new covenant between God and man through the birth of Christ. That does not mean not the spirit of the holiday cannot be celebrated by non believers. It is as much a celebration of family and friends as it is of the spirit of Christ. It is the thought that counts. No one is forced to celebrate, it is optional! 😉

    sulz: good points too! haha, yup, there need to be any more christmas scrooge than the famous one we already know. 😛

  7. lovelyloey said:

    Yeah half the world partakes in the commercial one. I swear it was invented by the Americans. Who, in the spirit of capitalism, commercialise pagan holidays like All Hallow’s Eve (Halloween) despite being such a Christian country.
    So I guess there’re those who pilgrim at the church and those who pilgrim at the shopping centres. Hoho. Never too many reasons to buy gifts (for ourselves).

    sulz: haha, blame america for everything, huh? 😉 not that you don’t have a point! oh, i never need a holiday to get something for myself. if i really want it i can come up with all the reasons in the world to get it. :mrgreen:

  8. Christmas is a Christian festival celebrating the birth of Jesus. However, the date is meaningless as it was appropriated by the Romans when they brought Christianity to England. At the time the English celebrated the Solstice at this time of year and the Romans found it easiest to plonk the birth of Jesus at this point to include celebrations of the pagan religion which would then lead to a gradual adoption of Christianity.
    The Romans were actually very eclectic when it came to religion and would often ‘blend’ various bits of different religions together to suit themselves! So this adoption of a special calendar date in one religion to celebrate an event in a different religion was not at all unusual.
    The commercialisation of Christmas isn’t that new, but yes Xylene is correct in that Santa Claus is a corruption of Saint Nicolas and so Christmas has extended into a festival that is no longer purely Christian.
    I do attend church sporadically and was raised a Christian in the Church of England. Like many Christians in Britain today though I mainly attend at the important calendar dates and that most definitely includes Christmas even though I know the actual date of celebration is wrong!

    Sorry about the essay but I studied Christianity in the past – fascinating subject!

    sulz: so it wouldn’t be entirely wrong to think christmas is a christian festival then? that was as what i thought too. i suppose the roman influence made it less ‘christian’ in that sense, but the basis looks very much christian.

    hehe, no problem. it does solve the confusion of whether christmas is christian to me. seems like there are two schools of thought to it!

  9. This is an emotional topic for me, but I basically agree with what B0bby and posteret have said. However, I was raised to believe that Christmas, primarily, was to celebrate the birth of the “Christ” or “Anointed” consciousness in the body of the person known as “Jesus”. As many pagan rituals and symbols were incorporated into the holiday along the way, it became more universal.
    I get to feeling woodgy (technical term) 😉 if one particular religious tradition dominates a culture. I feel it’s inappropriate for “Christmas Day” (December 25) to be a legal (bank) holiday in the United States, for instance. I’d rather see a “floating holiday” that could be taken at any time, for personal reasons. Besides, people still have to work on Christmas.
    So that I don’t end this comment with whining, I will say that the good cheer that does abound at this time of year is gratifying! 🙂

    sulz: what’s woodgy and why? even though i don’t celebrate some festivals in my country, i love the holidays! 😛 i wish more holidays can be had, hehe. that’s obviously me trying to get more off days from work. 😀

  10. lovelyloey said:

    Ha, Christmas is an official holiday in Singapore too. Along with Hari Raya Haji (Muslims go to the hajj), Hari Raya Puasa (breaking fast), Deepavali (Hindu festival of the light), Vesak Day (Buddhist festival) … on top of the non-religious holidays like New Year, Chinese New Year, Labour Day … I think we do try to be as inclusive as we can, and give people a break. The religious ones can go to their places of worship, the non-religious ones can take time to recharge and play. 🙂

    sulz: i want more holidays! not fair for non-believers like me to not have our own holidays. 😛 should have an ‘agnostic/atheist day’. :mrgreen: hmm, is there a holiday in singapore that malaysia doesn’t have, apart from our respective independence day holidays?

  11. woodgy (uncomfortable) for me because Christmas Day is the ONLY specifically religious holiday that is a legal holiday in the US, and we’re supposed to have “separation of church and state” over here. I don’t have any problem with anyone, Christian or not, celebrating Christmas, but I’m not pleased it’s a government holiday. I would be thrilled if we had what lovelyloey reports; all those different official holidays! Do you have all those too in Malaysia? 🙂

    sulz: oh, i didn’t know that! it does seem unfair to festivals of other religions not being considered for official holidays too. yup, malaysia has those holidays and more, since we have sultans for almost every state and we celebrate their birthdays too. 😀 as for states without a sultan, they have their own holiday! (such as kuala lumpur, they celebrate a ‘federal territory day’ on february 1st, so people who work in kl don’t have to go to work that day.)

  12. I have always been fascinated with this festival since childhood. Hmm maybe the effect of seeing too many Hollywood movies. 🙂

    sulz: yup, christmas is very commercialised, given a very big hand in that path by movies! blasphemous as this may sound, i prefer christmas over chinese new year! but i still like cny – what other festival can you receive money from married adults during then?? 😛

  13. Christmas, like all things Christian, is a remnant of all things Pagan that they borrowed and fashioned to their liking, but, it’s a time of celebration and giving, no matter what religion we are patrons of. In light of breaking away from the consumerism that the season kinda stands for here in Oz, I made a promise to myself to give everyone a small gift this year instead of a big one 😀

    sulz: so what will i be getting from santa sade this christmas? 😛

  14. Have you been good this year? 😛

    sulz: very! 🙂 it’s only that bad things keep happening to me this year! 😦

  15. Ms. Johnny said:

    growing up as a Catholic, I am to understand that the most important aspect in celebrating Christmas is to attend the mass both on Christmas eve and Christmas day. It is important to attend the mass because we remember the birth of Jesus who is the only Son of God who is to bring peace on earth. Therefore, I personaly believe that Christmas is a Christian thing.

    But having said that, I believe that Christmas is a time when everyone feels excited about. Be it because of Jesus’ birthday or the decoration at the shopping malls (or perhaps the sale 😀 ). Nobody can escape from feeling that Christmas is just around the corner…

    I enjoy my Christmas by celebrating it with my family…that is how I like it 😀

    sulz: so christianity is very much alive in the way you celebrate christmas, good for you! yeah, christmas is all-pervasive during the season, so if you hate it it would make it an awful time of the year for you! i’ve never really heard of people hating christmas, though… it’s just too fun. 😀

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