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Is Christmas Really "Christian"?

One of the seriously deranged folks who sends me every conspiracy theory under the sun finally piqued my interest with a long essay titled Is Christmas Really "Christian"? A little research indicates that, as I suspected, he did not write it. It's floated around in various forms since the 1950's.

Christianity Today has a a more readable version of the pagan origins of many of the Christmas traditions.

More on debates of the holiday season at December Dilema Watch Blog.


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» Knight Of The Mind linked with Why Happy Holidays Just Won't Cut It.

Comments (8)

Ha. Christmas as not being... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Ha. Christmas as not being "Christian" is pretty flimsy...despite the fluctuating customs associated with Christmas, Christians define the holiday as being recognition and memorialization, worship about, the birth of Jesus Christ.

Santa Claus originated in Norway, I believe, or Sweden, generally a Nordic custom, and the Christmas Tree originated in Germany, and then the display of the Nativity -- the Child Jesus in the Manger -- originated in Italy, and not too long ago as to a few centuries.

But, everyone of faith recognizes the entire experience as that to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

As to even those who aren't Christians but appreciate the holiday, they do mostly, in my experience, perceive the issue as being that of commemorating and enjoying the basic tenets of Christianity.

Social customs come and go, but most people get the point that CHRISTmas is about Jesus CHRIST. Which is also why those who are so rankled by Christmas and the mere reference to Jesus Christ, respond as they do about the Holiday, in my opinion.

In Hawaii, a land of never-any-native-familiarity-with-anything-Nordic-in-theme, even there, people celebrate. Wearing flipflops and shorts and tees, maybe, but still a celebration. I always buy a wreath to display when there that is constructed out of "Hawaiian flowers" -- which, it turns out, originated in South Africa and were introduced to Hawaii not so long ago, and now generally sent worldwide as representational of Hawaii.

One of the funniest Christmas moments I ever experienced was once on Maui, walking around for late minute purchases in the "new" K-Mart (recently at that time built on Maui), when the temperature was about eighty degrees outside ("cold" for some in the Islands), and Muzak over the K-Mart loud speakers was playing "Jingle Bells"....this clearly Polynesian guy with a few of his children in tow walked by singing along and then stopped and shook his head, laughing, realizing the words he was singing ("dashing through the snow, in a one horse open sleigh, o'er the hills we go, laughing all the way..."), standing there in his slippahs and shorts and a tee shirt, and the guy laughed aloud and said, shaking his head, "oh, people of Polynesia, what has happened to us?" and then started laughing again and singing even louder, as did his children nearby, "OHHHH, jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the waaaayyy..."

It was pretty funny in the moment.

Hanukkah commemorates a mir... (Below threshold)
daniel a.:

Hanukkah commemorates a miraculous event which occurred 200 years before the birth of Jesus.

It was celebrated on the anniversary of that miracle - 25th day of the twelfth month, TISHRI - ever since the miracle occurred.

The anniversary of the birth of Jesus is celebrated on exactly the same date - only in the Gregorian calendar, the 12th month being December.

COINCIDENCE? That both are celebrated on 12/25?

Not likely.

What does it mean?

Not sure....

EH. A whole buch of winter ... (Below threshold)

EH. A whole buch of winter solstice rituals have gotten rolled up into Christmas. Heck, anyone with familiarity with farm animals could tell you that the date for the thing got shifted from spring to winter. (HINT: Sheep don't have lambs during the cold months...) The move was to displace the popular festivals surrounding the birth-date of Mithras. For that matter, an awful lot of Christian holidays have picked up a whole bunch of pagan baggage. Or did you not notice that the Resurection is celebrated with the fertility two-fer of an egg-laying rabbit? Or that the day itself is named for a British fertility goddess?All sorts of stuff along these lines. Like there's the days of the week, which are named for our local star, our natural satelite, the one-handed Norse god of truth, the norse All-Father, the Norse thunder god, the Norse sex goddess, and the Roman god of farming...

Daniel, ... (Below threshold)
Lysander:

Daniel,

Damn a wrong click at the w... (Below threshold)
Lysander:

Damn a wrong click at the wrong time, and the post went *POOF*

What I was trying to say, was that Cybrludite is right - there's a number of traditions and setups that affect how the holiday is celebrated today. Mainly, contrast Easter with Christmas. Easter is tied to Pesach (Passover) - the Last Supper was a Pesach Seder. Since the Hebrew and Julian/Gregorian calendars do not coincide on a year-to-year basis, this is why Easter 'moves' - while not strictly with the Hebrew Calendar, but Easter is always within something like seven days or so of the first night of Pesach (when the first Seder is held.)

Christmas, on the other hand, is a "fixed position" holiday on the Julian/Gregorian calendar. There's not telling exactly when (on the Hebrew Calendar) it would have fallen, and it has accumulated numerous pagan traditions, which made it an easier holiday to adopt as Christianity spread. Other than the accumulation of other traditions, I haven't heard a particularly compelling reason why one (Easter) should 'float' while the other (Christmas) should remain fixed.


Anyways, Merry Christma, Happy (Past) Hannukah, and a good New Year.

Lysander

Well, it seems to me that a... (Below threshold)
firstbrokenangel:

Well, it seems to me that all the stories you hear on tv about people removing the "christ" from christmas, suing to remove songs, trees and other things, trying to change all the normal traditions and winning, makes me think that soon the traditional Christmas and Christ may be just a memory and that bothers me a lot.

Cindy

firstbrokenangel:I... (Below threshold)
-S-:

firstbrokenangel:

It bothers a lot of us, you're right about the problematic aspects to what's going on in present day by atheists reviling the very mention of Jesus Christ, of Christmas-themed displays...

BUT, it will come around to discredit those who work toward that end, is my best hunch. Atheists, Pagans, all that display and celebration about their own "religion," as with others who claim no religious affiliation but object because others do, it'll prove to be their downfall.

Because, everyone's guaranteed Freedom of Religion under our Constitution, mainly, on a civic level alone. Not "freedom FROM religion," but the Freedom of Religion, to engage in, or not, whatever Religious Freedom an individual wants.

People who are today attempting to so suppress and frighten by ACLU threat of lawsuit the Freedom of others are going to find themselves quite on the losing end, eventually.

I'm just curious why the ACLU hasn't set their sites on Halloween, on "Solstice" and Astrology references and such...there's more Witchcraft to go around in the music and film industry, why hasn't the ACLU sued each and every title author, theatre, individual who promotes that ("celebrates") 'religious' theme/message?

You can push people only so far, and after that, the Constitution steps in and trounces all the naysayers and suppressors of others' freedoms. I'm actually looking forward to the rebound process.

And, MERRY CHRISTMAS, to al... (Below threshold)
-S-:

And, MERRY CHRISTMAS, to all!




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