Did I get your attention? Are you surprised that a Christian would say that? Maybe I should explain. I have to admit, it REALLY bothers me every year, when Christmas rolls around, and the church, and other Christians start quoting the age old, unquestioned line. It bothers me when I hear our Christian Christmas traditions spoken as if they have always been, and that they are indeed the origin. The truth is, Christmas did NOT start out to be about Jesus. It bothers me that Christian parents are content to teach their children this propaganda. Why do we rob our children of the TRUTH? Would it be so terrible if they knew that long before there was a Christmas, that Ancient civilizations celebrated and feasted, and decorated their homes in evergreen boughs? That they would sing in the streets (maybe you could leave out the naked part) and give gifts to each other? That they did this to celebrate their gods and the seasons? And that there were people along the trail of history, that eventually became woven into the history of the holiday as it has changed over the years? The TRUTH is very interesting… and I see no reason why it should be hidden. I certainly don’t plan on getting naked and going caroling, but that’s how caroling started!! The Christmas tree itself has come a long way. Versions of it have been around since biblical times. OLD TESTAMENT TIMES. Way before Jesus came around. And what about that little thing about how the bible tells us that the shepherds were in their FIELDS? Apparently, if it HAD been the middle of Dec, they would have been in the pens. Most likely, Jesus was born in Spring. It’s not a disputed idea that Christians over the centuries chose to celebrate Christmas during Dec. because they were trying to convert non Christians who celebrated a pagan holiday called Saturnalia… Part of what’s commonly known as Winter Solstice. Santa Claus started out as a REAL person. He DID live. Over time, his legend has out done him, but there are good things about him. The ORIGINAL him. Why can’t we explain that to our children? Why CAN’T we celebrate his character, and good will?
For Myself, I think I will start to teach my children about the REAL origins of Christmas. Some of the facts are a little muddy, and we’ll talk about that.
We will talk about the ways that we as Christians can take the time to remember Jesus. We’ll talk about how the wise men WEREN’T part of the nativity. That they most likely didn’t reach Jesus’ family until Jesus was 2 years old. We might even take them out of our nativity. We’ll light the Advent Wreath. We’ll put a star on our tree. Because for MY family, the reason for the season will be about Jesus SPIRIT… of goodwill and compassion. It will be a time for celebration of friends and family. It will be a time for reflection. Because Jesus GIVES us reason. Reason to celebrate and love and live.
If you are interested in where I found information that I found useful, you can visit any of these sites. They are written from all views. Impartial and Opinionated. I do not agree with all of them, but I think that each of them have good information that can be gleaned from them.
The origin of Holiday Symbols
All about the Christmas Tree
Who is St. Nicholas?
Should Christians Celebrate Christmas?
The Evolution of the Christmas Tree
If you are interested in ways to celebrate with Jesus as part or all of your focus, this site has GREAT information about both the “non Christian” versions of many of our traditions (all in a nice nutshell) along side the ways that Christianity has since had an influence on these traditions. It also contains instructions for the Advent Wreath.
Edited to add….
I don’t intend for this post to say that Christians SHOULDN’T celebrate Jesus’ birth at Christmas time. I’m simply stating this:
1. We do non Christian’s who KNOW that ORIGINALLY there was a DIFFERENT reason for the season a disservice when we blindly make such blanket statements. I also believe that in doing this disservice, we also may end up building a wall where the may have been an opportunity to witness. We may end up causing a friend to wonder what else about what we tell them about our beliefs is untrue.
2. We set our children up to doubt their beliefs if or when they find out that what they grew up being told was fact is indeed NOT fact. Again, creating walls where we COULD have communication.
By Explaining HOW and WHAT used to be celebrated has been replaced with NEW symbolism, and tradition, and by encouraging your family’s focus to be INTENTIONALLY focused on faith, we can open doors for talks in OTHER areas of conversation. You have the opportunity to have conversation in other areas where your child or friend may have doubts or questions.