In a previous article I brought some issues to light that can help explain why some Christians may react so extremely and perpetuate the “war on Christmas.” However, that should be taken with a grain of salt, because it is Christians who are the perpetuators. For the sake of this article, I will openly say that I myself identify as a Christian. So as a collective “We,” Christians, what can we do to turn this “war” around?
I personally know Christian families that do not celebrate Christmas because of the secular holiday it has become again. While I do not think they should be told that they are wrong for doing this—everyone should be respected for the personal choices they make that don’t affect other people—I do not believe that completely separating ourselves from Christmas is the answer.
I have been fortunate to come from a family that values tradition when it comes to holidays, both religious ones and those that come from both of my parents’ cultural heritages. However these aren’t the kinds of traditions that the protagonist of “Fiddler on the Roof” sings and laments about throughout the musical. Tevye, father to three lovely daughters who wish to bend the rules of marriage further and further, demonstrates how many traditions have been repeated throughout history until they become essentially meaningless because they don’t know why they do what they do. My parents, on the other hand, made certain that the Christmas traditions we incorporated into our festivities had meaning. From advent wreaths and candles to bringing our presents down to the tree on Christmas Day to be opened on Epiphany—an ancient holiday on January 6th celebrating the coming of the magi—there are specific traditions we hold for reasons my parents explained to us from an early age. All of this was created to shape a personal, family-oriented celebration of Christmas in our own home and not to teach a standard of how everyone else should be celebrating it.
That being said, we didn’t keep the holiday completely cultural and religious. While we were never made to believe in Santa, there were and still are annual viewings of “Rudolph,”mistletoe hung for kissing and a Christmas party held for our group of friends every year. And why are these secular things important too? Because they bring the warmth and love of a community of family and friends together that all people desire, especially through the holidays.
So why are some of us trying to take Christmas away from people by staking a claim on it for ourselves? What really is the point of it? Sure we can put up little decorative sayings like “Jesus is the reason for the season,” but I don’t believe that that’s the kind of thing we should be verbally laying on other people, posting to our Facebook walls or demanding should be on our coffee cups.
Christmas is a holiday that has developed over time all over the board, and right now both secular and religious people happen to celebrate it. But that doesn’t mean that this beautiful holiday that really could be “the most wonderful time of the year” has to be under a constant tug of war. If we really are to “show them we are Christians by our love,” then we can keep our spiritual connection with the holiday part of our own personal festivities and traditions and in public have a joyous heart towards all people. So Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.