To take one of Ricki Gervais’ popular phrases, it may sound like I’m having a go, but I’m not. Really, I’m not! Please read through the entire post before flaming me, but this whole Christmas thing has gotten to be rather irritating for two reasons:
It has absolutely nothing to do with the birth of Christ. Not now, not ever.
The story of Jesus’ birth is a myth developed through a series of biblical texts, the earliest of which making no mention of Jesus’ birth. In other words: the entire story is fictional.
In the texts that do mention Jesus’ birth, there is no mention of the date. Not even in the Dead Sea Scrolls is there a mention of December 25th. So where did we get the date from?
Let me introduce you to Mithra, Zoroastrian god whose birthday is, coincidentally, right around the winter solstice. December 25th, to be exact. It also happened to be rather popular in Rome around the time Christianity was beginning.
Christianity paled in comparison to the older and well-reputed religions such as Zoroastrianism (or Mithraism), especially since Christianity at the time didn’t have much in the way of celebrations.
Oh wait, did we mention that Jesus was born right around the winter solstice? Like er, December 25th? Fancy that!
In other words, Christmas and many other “Christian” holidays are in fact adaptations from several other religions used to make Christianity more appealing. Holidays were a ploy to convince people to convert.
It is not a time for everyone to go out and buy people stuff.
Christmas isn’t about spending money. It’s not about buying shiny gifts. It’s not about spending hours in a shopping mall, stressing over what to buy for your [insert relation here].
Christmas is about being with those you love, and showing them that love. Yes, buying gifts can be and usually are a part of this, but that’s not all there is to it. The worst gift can mean everything if it was bought (or made) with love and good intentions. Similarly, the best gift can mean nothing if it has no meaning behind it.
I don’t know a single person who doesn’t enjoy getting gifts, myself included. At the same time, I would be just as happy celebrating with my family if gifts were not involved at all.
So why do I bother celebrating Christmas at all?
The short answer is tradition. I’ve celebrated it my entire life, as had my mother hers, her mother hers, and so on. It’s always been an enjoyable time of the year for me, and I most certainly have no intentions of ending that.
The long answer is in fact a question: What reason do I have to not celebrate? The sun rises yet another day, the world continues to turn, I have a warm home and a wonderful family I love to bits. I have amazing friends and one friend I would like to be more than a friend, one day.
Everything in my life is a gift. All of it. For me, Christmas is about celebrating those gifts. It’s about celebrating love and happiness. Celebrating the sun as the daylight hours grow longer. Celebrating the trees that stay forever green in the dead of winter, a symbol of hope.
I celebrate because I am alive and I am blessed. Maybe by God, maybe by gods, or maybe by the grace of the Universe. I can’t say I know and part of me hopes I never do. It’s a bit like having a Secret Santa.