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Christmas is the Reason for the Season!

Updated on December 6, 2012

Renowned philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein stated in his work “Logic of Language” that “the meaning of a word was its use”. We could well make the same argument for holidays. The meaning of a holiday is its use. Obviously, Christmas is celebrated by many people for many reasons. Although Christians celebrate Christmas as a day commemorating the birth of Christ, it remains a day which is celebrated by countless millions who do not suscribe to the same notion.

The popular mantra “ He is the reason for the season ” is a valid claim for those who celebrate Christmas as the day commemorating the birth of Christ, but, it is not the reason to those of other faiths or those of no faith.

There has been much controversy over the centuries regarding Christmas and how it should or should not be celebrated. The puritans in 1659 even outlawed its celebration as did other early Christian sects for its perpetuation of pagan traditions. A study of its earliest historical roots would lead most of us to ban it ourselves, except that we do not celebrate Christmas for what it was, but rather for what it has become.

Today, there were another half dozen school districts debating appropriate Christmas music and the intrusion of religion upon secular institutions. Personally, I am an anomaly as a Christian. I am at odds with many of the manifestations of our theology today and engage in lively argument with more of my brethren than I do with non-believers. The ownership of Christmas is one such area.

Christ is the reason for “MY” season and I would hope, for all Christians around the world, however, that others have set aside the 25th of December to celebrate Christmas without reference to my God dose not bother me in the least. I have no expectation of non believers to engage in “Hark the Herald Angel Sings” or to join in a chorus of “ Oh Holy Night. ” Neither do I expect them to warm or shudder at my embrace of such traditional worship songs and I have never felt deprived of such liberty. And make no mistake; they are worship songs. Personally I believe much of Christmas' music is introduced as a part of tradition more than a religious message and I hold it in a special place which keeps them for both reasons. I will miss the departure of such Christmas music from public places because they are for me, so deeply rooted in tradition. That its religious significance intrudes upon the freedom of others must speak to my reasonableness and sensitivities. I shall build new traditions as will those whose faiths intrude upon the free liberty of others.


It is absolutely ludicrous to argue that such song belongs to Christmas. They belong to “MY” Christmas and there lies the distinction which should occupy our coming together. We are all free to make of Christmas what ever we want Christmas to be. It will not change what it is to me and I would wish the same be true for whatever it is to you. If there ever was a day which should encourage us to put aside our differences, then it is indeed, Christmas.

I like Santa, Christmas trees and presents under the tree. I adore non Christian Christmas songs, Christmas dinner and stockings hung on the chimney with care. Each of them is a secular tradition. I like that I am free to like them, to incorporate them into celebration and that it neither defines my person nor my faith. I like that I am free to make Christ the center of the season and I like that others may celebrate Christmas without making Christ the center of the season.

The wonder of Christmas is the spirit which has come to symbolize our mutual celebration. We come together as families. We exchange gifts and for a brief time, we live with a heighten awareness of those who are less fortunate. We decorate our homes, play holiday music and we get uncommonly festive. It is a magical holiday and it is magical for different reasons to all people. It is magical that we live at this point in time, at this place in time where Christmas, which is so many things to so many, accommodates all of our many and varied reasons.

With the spirit that Christmas should instill in all of us, whatever the reason, I hope it is for you a very special day; A day that brings to heart, good things, good tidings and good cheer. That we should all do so, even for a day, is the magic of Christmas.

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    • arb profile imageAUTHOR

      arb 

      5 years ago from oregon

      We too often forget, that our freedoms are insured by the same freedom extended our neighbor. Be well my friend.

    • xstatic profile image

      Jim Higgins 

      5 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      A great reason for the season and to celebrate with friends and family. It is wonderful, as you say to be free to celebrate as the heart is moved to do without regard for strictures which some observe. Good one Alan!

    • arb profile imageAUTHOR

      arb 

      6 years ago from oregon

      As would mine. (:

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      6 years ago from TEXAS

      ps: Alan, If I received no other gift, my tree would be lit up!

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      6 years ago from TEXAS

      Dear, dear Leslie - ok. So if the food and the people are good and all is well with you as you are practicing & enjoying it, what's the problem? Just "do" 'you'. If god's in it for others, what's the problem? As they used to say, 'it's no skin off my nose."

      My 'religion', if it can be called that, is that 'There is no problem'. I've no problem with faith. In fact, I feel that in owning up to 'knowing' little (for or against) and in accepting that as 'no problem' - IS the essence of faith.

      Problem comes when it gets to be channeled into 'faith/belief IN. . . .' one or the other, which are unknowns, nevertheless; - - and then follows deliberately choosing and establishing an entity which one 'believes IN' to exclusion of any other, in that statement or equation which is a choice, (not just faith in what IS, whether fully known or not). By its nature, saying 'this is IT" begins to shut out all others but that 'one' which has been decided upon.

      I wonder - where do mere humans 'get off' with such audacity? But - if they do and it's their conclusion, where would I get off arguing with that or insisting that's not "IT"?

      In my heart I have a deep sense of "IT". I sense a much bigger entity than could be contained in a 'belief' of my own choosing.

      I was raised by a Christian mother &, I suppose, an agnostic-Christian father. I was partly schooled at a very conservative Christian college where there's little of that denomination's beliefs which escaped me, including an intense, in-depth study of the Bible. I respect their beliefs, but as "THE ONLY true belief", - I saw what they thought it was, but I couldn't internalize it 'their way'.

      I've no quarrel with it; why would I? It's what they think but is, but is simply a part of my stash of information. Some of their congregations really believe the earth is flat, since a round earth wasn't mentioned in the Bible! They're sincere. But - wow. Still, - what is the problem - for me? None.

      What does distress me is rigidity to the point of in-fighting within the broad scope of Christ-followers, plus a horrible growing deadly animosity between them and those whose paths have led elsewhere. That spirit not only contradicts principles of most religions involved, but it makes NO SENSE; not to me, anyway.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      6 years ago from TEXAS

      Yes, Alan (in response to your reply to my comment) - that, it is. Rather amazing, in fact.

    • arb profile imageAUTHOR

      arb 

      6 years ago from oregon

      Thanks for reading leslie. Well, I wasn't born into any religion. Don't remember mom and dad ever going to church. I am not of any organized religion as I have yet to find one that could be described as organized, but, I do claim christianity as my present and my end. For me, myself and I, I could no more un-attach God from a single moment than I could un-attach light from the sun. But, that is mine and I will adore you despite such differences. Such things do not come to bear upon friends. Not on holidays or any day. I wish you then, good food and the company of good people this holiday season.

    • ImKarn23 profile image

      Karen Silverman 

      6 years ago

      ok..i was born jewish, but am of no organized religion whatsoever - i just do not feel it...i've tried and failed..

      i'm spiritual and believe in the power of the universe and nature - but 'god' as defined by any religion? Just kinda makes me shake my head in wonderment and disbelief! Having said that - i'll celebrate ANY holiday with ANYbody - as long as good people and good hearts are present! Why can't we just 'celebrate' life...living...and loving - and not have to attach a 'god' to it?

      if the food and the people are good - i'm all in...i wish more people 'practiced' this...

    • arb profile imageAUTHOR

      arb 

      6 years ago from oregon

      It is with friends as it is with you and me. Unspoken promises silently kept, such treasure for the heart.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      6 years ago from TEXAS

      Dear Alan - a great gift is surely one which accomplishes its promise and fulfills its meaning. So yours must be such a one!

    • arb profile imageAUTHOR

      arb 

      6 years ago from oregon

      Hello Genna and thanks for reading. I wish you and yours a very special Christmas this year, filled with warmth and love and goodies.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      6 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      “We are all free to make of Christmas whatever we want Christmas to be. It will not change what it is to me and I would wish the same be true for whatever it is to you.”

      “With the spirit that Christmas should instill in all of us, whatever the reason, I hope it is for you a very special day; A day that brings to heart, good things, good tidings and good cheer. That we should all do so, even for a day, is the magic of Christmas.”

      So very true, Alan. And I think that Jesus, himself, would agree with these very wise words. :-)

    • arb profile imageAUTHOR

      arb 

      6 years ago from oregon

      Hello valleypoet! I wish you a merry Christmas from here and across the sea. Thanks for your reading.

    • profile image

      Valleypoet 

      6 years ago

      Very well said Arb...you are a man of thought, therefore wise and respectful of others...merry Christmas :-))

    • arb profile imageAUTHOR

      arb 

      6 years ago from oregon

      drbj! Thanks for stopping in. I wish you and yours all that would make you smile this Christmas!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      6 years ago from south Florida

      Christmas is a wonderful holiday to spend with our families whatever our beliefs or lack of them. Thanks for being the voice of reason and happy holidays to you, arb.

    • arb profile imageAUTHOR

      arb 

      6 years ago from oregon

      Hello Jim! Thanks as always. I wish you and Ann a special holiday. Be well my friend!

    • arb profile imageAUTHOR

      arb 

      6 years ago from oregon

      hey CMerritt! good to see you. Thanks for reading and a special holiday to you and yours.

    • arb profile imageAUTHOR

      arb 

      6 years ago from oregon

      georgescifo! and wishing you, many, many more.

    • arb profile imageAUTHOR

      arb 

      6 years ago from oregon

      As have I Martin! May His goodness shine upon you and yours this Christmas and evermore.

    • arb profile imageAUTHOR

      arb 

      6 years ago from oregon

      DzyMsLizzy! Thanks for the comment. Commercialism has a way of blinding our vision. I hope that most reserve glimpes of something more, but, if not and if commercialism is the match that lights their candle then I will not begrudge them. It may not be my cup of tea, but, if the flavor fits their cup then I wish them well this holiday.

    • arb profile imageAUTHOR

      arb 

      6 years ago from oregon

      Hi Faith Reaper! May His goodness shine upon you this day and everyday.

    • arb profile imageAUTHOR

      arb 

      6 years ago from oregon

      rebeccamealy! It is glorious indeed. Thanks for sharing.

    • arb profile imageAUTHOR

      arb 

      6 years ago from oregon

      whonunwho! Thanks for reading. May the spirit of Christmas keep you warm this holiday.

    • arb profile imageAUTHOR

      arb 

      6 years ago from oregon

      Thank you Audrey. I wish you happy singing.

    • CMerritt profile image

      Chris Merritt 

      6 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Well said buddy! I am right in line with you on this.

    • georgescifo profile image

      georgescifo 

      6 years ago from India

      One more Xmas season knocking at the door... :)

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 

      6 years ago from Oakley, CA

      NP, Nellieanna. I've been called worse... ;-)

    • xstatic profile image

      Jim Higgins 

      6 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      A wonderfully ecumenical point of view Alan. This is truly the best way to view and to celebrate the holiday. We wish you and your family the very best of one for certain.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      6 years ago from TEXAS

      My apologies - MsLizzy. (I have a great granddaughter named Isabelle - Izzy for short.)

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      6 years ago from TEXAS

      Beautiful attitude, beautifully said.

      There should be no quarrel about the celebration and the season, except, perhaps, as MsIzzy mentioned - the crass commercialism.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 

      6 years ago from San Francisco

      Being a Christian, I am a bit prejudice in your favor. I have been very blessed, and would be a poor servant to change now. So... Thank you for this. And bless you

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 

      6 years ago from Oakley, CA

      You have spoken with the voice of reason--very refreshing. As an atheist/pagan, I resent the apparent "forcing down my throat" by many who believe solely in the Christian viewpoint, and do so with very un-Christian actions and attitudes. I am willing to let everyone believe what they wish, but I cannot stand the commercial nightmare of the "gimme-wannas" that the season has become.

      It disturbs me to see the season rushed to the point that Christmas items are in stores before even Halloween. This is crass commercialism, and has nothing to do with what Christmas, or Yule or Kwanzaa, or Chanukah, or any other celebration at this time of year is supposed to be.

      I was raised in the Christian traditions, so I still put up a tree, but it has morphed into a Yule Tree; I put up ridiculous amounts of outdoor lighting, but it is Santa, trees, and just lights--nothing of religion in my Winter Solstice festival of lights/banish the darkness of winter display. I have an ironic love/hate relationship with Christmas songs of a religious nature--I don't agree with or like the messages therein, as they don't fit my belief system, but I do like the melodies. And when greeting people, I say, "Happy Holidays," for holidays they are, regardless of which one a person chooses to celebrate.

      And so, I wish you Happy Holidays, and congratulate you on a fair and tolerant point of view.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      6 years ago from southern USA

      Yes, we each have a choice, and MY choice is as yours. God bless. Merry Christmas. Excellent write. In His Love, Faith Reaper

      Voted up +++ sharing

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 

      6 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Uplifting thoughts. The true meaning of Christmas gets so lost, but I still enjoy all of the hullabalo. I just think to myself, how awesome that one person. ..well, the human Jesus anyway has such a remarkable celebration for his birthday every year!

    • whonunuwho profile image

      whonunuwho 

      6 years ago from United States

      I agree , it is for those who accept and desire to celebrate. No one is forced to revere or regard a thing, and only by a choice will this ever be so. Thanks for sharing, whonu

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 

      6 years ago from California

      Interesting hub--Christmas is a working holiday for me as a singer--I shuttle from one church to another during this season--and so the differences among religious belief are not lost on me, but I hold the same appreciation for those areas of common ground--and that we do manage to cross those differences and come together in a spirit of giving is truly a wonderful thing--best to you!

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