Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The real meaning of xmas.

It's been a while since I've heard someone bemoan to me that the "real meaning" of Christmas has been lost. I do come across it online though, and was recently invited to join the cause to "keep the Christ in Christmas" on a social networking site. I politely declined.

It reminded me of those people, back when I lived in a more Christian country than this one, who assumed I would agree with them that the focus on non Jesus elements was wrong for Christmas. I always found it annoying, though I never said anything.

I know that those people meant well, and were on the whole good people, not usually the type to push their religious ways on people, but nevertheless, they were wrong. They weren't wrong that Jesus is the meaning of Christmas for them and for people who think like them. What they were wrong about, is assuming that it's that way (or should be) for anyone else.

Yes, it's (in English anyway) named after Christ, and has a Christian history, that is after they took the festival from the Pagans and altered it to suit them, but now it's a Western cultural tradition, which is still Christian for some people, but not at all for others.

I grew up in a family which celebrated Christmas, though we were never religious. I grew up with the trees and presents and Santa Claus, the food, the family... and that's what it is about. That's all it is about. Since I've grown up, I still celebrate Christmas, though I've become an official atheist, because I like it. Some atheists see it as a Christian holiday and don't celebrate it which is all fine.. I can see a lot more reasons to not like Christmas than just the religious one, I'm a sucker though, I like all that festive jazz.. I'm quite suited to a bit of sparkly tree and Santa worship.. much more than I am to worshiping the baby Jesus.

Ironic of course, that in this adopted, not very Christian country of mine, it's the baby Jesus who gives children presents. Traditionally there isn't a Santa Claus, and his new presence is none too welcome by some of the local folk, which I got to overhear from many passer's by last year during my stint as Santa's photographer. I can understand it, he is to some, the symbol of creeping American culture, Coca Cola, the worst excesses of xmas materialism.. but.. I still like the jolly fella. And the trees and the sparkly shit and the (these days very modest) pressies.

And it's another excuse to booze it up. Perhaps that's what I like about it most of all :)

Merry Christmas all, have a happy one.


Erikland said...


Michelle said...

I knew I was right!