One of the questions I inevitably get asked around this time of year is why don’t we celebrate Christmas.
Once upon a time, I had a lot of very elaborate reasons for not celebrating Christmas. As time as gone by, however, my personal reasons for not celebrating Christmas have gotten a whole lot simpler. As a friend recently put it:
“Why don’t I celebrate Christmas? For the same reason I don’t celebrate Columbus day.”
Oh sure, I could list all the reasons we don’t feel comfortable celebrating Christmas, as I did a few years ago in this post, but more and more the reality is that we don’t celebrate it simply because there isn’t anything about that day we feel is worth making a celebration out of. Is the day Columbus encountered (I won’t say “discovered”, since people were already living here) America important? Sure. Is it a reason to decorate my home and give gifts to all my friends and family members on the second Monday in October? Well, not really.
As for Christmas, it’s a pretty well established fact that Jesus wasn’t born anywhere near December 25th, and in light of that we simply don’t see any reason to make the day important. In fact, if we really want to celebrate December the 25th according to its original intent, we shouldn’t put “Christ back in Christmas” but rather put “Saturn back in Saturnalia.”
That’s not to say that people can’t celebrate Christmas for the glory of God. I believe they can! And those who urge us to put the “Christ back in Christmas” are doing so out of love and a desire to see Christ honored by everyone on that day (misapplied, but commendable.) I’m not bothered when people wish me a “Merry Christmas” and I genuinely wish them a “Merry Christmas in return.” We’re not offended by Christmas – we don’t ban Christmas music (although there are some songs we’re not comfortable with) or keep our kids out of friends’ homes when they have their Christmas trees up, or refuse to participate in Christmas recitals.* We just don’t celebrate it, for much the same reason we don’t celebrate Columbus Day or Labor Day. We have some pretty awesome Holy Days we celebrate as a family (Tabernacles, Pentecost, Passover, etc.) that we find much more enjoyable, and have a lot more meaning to us.
For all the people who are excitedly preparing for Christmas, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a wonderful holiday season! Please forgive us if we don’t give you a present. ;)
*That’s not to say there isn’t ANYTHING we actively avoid during the Christmas season, nor is it to say that there is nothing about Christmas that offends us (you can see my other post for more information about that.) It is to say, however, that we’ve chosen to center all of our important “family traditions” on God-given Holy Days, rather than holidays deemed important by the society we live in. In that sense, Christmas has passed from something we were once distressed over, into something we just don’t think about much.