Wednesday, 19 November 2008
I’ve seen an awful lot of arguments happening on various Internet boards recently, all with the same theme: who does Christmas belong to and who should be ‘allowed’ to celebrate it? Some of those arguments have gotten really out hand, with name calling and threats to personal safety being thrown about.
I believe that Christmas should be celebrated by anybody who wishes to join in the festivities and that, as long as they’re not hurting others, they should be allowed to celebrate in whatever way suits them, be they Christians, Pagans, Jews, Atheists or whatever else.
Many Pagans will argue that Christmas (Yule) originally belonged to them with the counterargument from Christians being that the word CHRIST in Christmas makes it theirs. Everybody has their own opinion but shouldn’t it foremostly be a time when we can practice peace by showing tolerance towards other religions or lifestyles, and stop arguing over who it belongs to and how it should be celebrated?
Here in the UK we’ve been calling this winter celebration Christmas for a good few hundred years. Before that it was known as Yule, a celebration of the Winter Solstice (the rebirth of the sun). Whether or not we should or shouldn’t call it Christmas is of no real relevance to me - it’s just a name - what’s important is that we can accept that it’s a time when each and every one of us should be able to do whatever we feel is right on that day. For some, it means absolutely nothing more than presents, for others it’s a time during which they can feel close to and give thanks to their God, for others it’s a time when they can drink and be merry. No doubt there are many, many more reasons why people celebrate Christmas too. Or even why they don't, whatever the case may be.
If we choose to celebrate, can’t we at least do that in peace, without needing to justify why we choose to do so as Atheists, Pagans or Worshippers of Little Green Men from Mars? Nobody has a supreme ‘right’ to Christmas, it’s just a day really, like any other. There’s no proof that Jesus was born that day (in fact, it’s highly unlikely) and nowhere does it say that you have to believe in God (as depicted in the Bible) in order to celebrate it.
Personally, I don’t believe it really has much to do with religion anymore at all. It’s about money. Even if everybody stopped celebrating on grounds of their faith, Christmas would still live on. The money grabbing capitalists would see to that. If anybody, they're probably who Christmas really belongs to these days.
Sharon J xx
Image Credit: Tom Stardust