Take The Christ Out Of Christmas

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Image via Nick Mustoe

Here we go again. The Happy Holidays, Season’s Greetings neutering of Christmas has begun and while I don’t like the generic naming of the season in the name of political correctness, I have no problem with taking Christ out of Christmas.

I’d actually encourage it to happen MORE.

I flipped through my radio dial this week and stumbled into one of the many stations that will be changing to all Christmas music for the next 6 weeks. Taylor Swift was singing Silent Night.

I changed the station as quickly as I could. It was a religious hymn on a non-religious radio station. The entire christian songbook as interpreted by modern musicians will be trotted out until the end of the year, and I’m not a fan. Silent Night, Away In A Manger, Hark The Herald Angels Sing, The First Noel etc etc etc.

They’re songs of worship. Songs of a religion that a shrinking percentage of the population follow. They’re songs that belong in a church, not on my radio. (Unless of course you are a specifically Christian radio station). It’s even more awkward when the religious theme clashes with the consumerism as the holy hymns blare through malls and grocery stores this time of year.

This is what people rail against in the censoring of Merry Christmas. In Canada we celebrate the Christmas season, but we all don’t necessarily celebrate the religious part of it. When the religion gets highlighted, the problems arise.

The spirit of Christmas is giving. It’s spending time with family. It’s charity. It’s feasting and parties. For some, it involves religious practice, but the Canadian tradition, while rooted in religion has evolved beyond it.

Many Canadians, while having beliefs outside Christianity choose to celebrate the season. And so they should. The Christmas tradition of families reuniting and children being captivated by the magic of giving is a special time.

I have argued with the post When In Rome, that we should embrace and celebrate all cultures and religions and their feasts. A greater understanding of each other is what brings us together.

In that tone, I would expect the mainstream stations to play songs of celebration for Eid, Diwali and Hannukah. Why do the Christian hymns get a free ride in mainstream media?

Bring on the chestnuts roasting over open fires, let it snow because baby it’s cold outside. But, frankly, I’d prefer a silent night without the herald angels singing.

For those who will be offended by me being offended, I point to this great argument in Deadspin against Tim Tebow‘s religious grandstanding:

And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. -[Matthew 6:5-6]

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Buzz

Dad. Broadcaster. Writer. Media Disruptor. Two time Guinness World Record Holder. I run marathons for Team Diabetes.

17 Comments

  1. Unless you are a Christian, you have no business celebrating Christmas. You can call your orgy of spending and consumption whatever you want, but unless you believe that it is the celebration of the birth of Jesus, it ain’t Christmas.

  2. That verse doesn’t constitute a great argument at all, if you know anything about the context.

    That verse, in particular, dealt with the Pharisees making a giant production of their prayer and their righteousness; it had nothing to do with the fact that they were openly practicing or celebrating a religion. They believed God was smiling on their “holier than thou” attitude and their eloquent public displays. The problem was their pride, the problem was that they were “grandstanding” their devoutness.

    But that verse DOESN’T mean that Christians should keep their faith completely private, hide it from the mainstream and bury it into the private parts of their lives. In fact, you’ll find throughout that exact same book you’re quoting several verses which call Christians to share their faith with others and not to be ashamed of it.

    That’s not me being a butthurt Christian – just pointing out that your “great argument” stems from a complete misinterpretation.

  3. Hey Jay, thanks for reading and commenting.

    I’m aware of the context of the passage and it’s a great argument against what Tim Tebow does every Sunday.

    I’m just asking that hymns be kept in the church.

  4. Christmas is supposed to be the celebration of the birth of Jesus and if people have a huge problem with the word CHRISTmas then why did they start celebrating it in the first place??? I think that is a great question you need to ask yourself when it has ALWAYS been a religious celebration. So people who knowingly know the meaning of Christmas before it’s celebrated want to change it why?? To start controversy and change things that aren’t rightfully theirs to change!!!

  5. Buzz, I love ya, but come on now.

    Interesting how folks are on board to take the time off from work with pay, shop ’til they drop, partake in community Chrismas activities, etc etc etc, yet take issue with the “Christ” in Christmas.

    Can’t have it both ways my friends.

  6. I think you’ve missed my point. I love all the Christmas season has to stand for in it’s modern incarnation. Charity, family, community. The magical imagination of children this time of year. I love all of it.

    My point is more the religious aspect that drifts into the mainstream. I don’t need to hear Silent Night on my mainstream radio station or The First Noel when I’m doing groceries.

    Christmas is not a religious holiday anymore, it’s more than that and so the religious part needs to be saved for the places where religion is celebrated instead of being broadcast in the mainstream.

  7. No, it doesn’t. People are free to publicly celebrate the Christian (or Jewish, Hindu, etc) aspects of their holidays if they wish. Radio stations are free to play religious carols.

    “I changed the station as quickly as I could.”

    Problem solved.

  8. I blogger I read posted this a while back:

    “I’m willing to wish you Happy Hannukah, Happy Diwali or Gung Hei Fat Choy. If that’s what you celebrate, good for you. Bring your culture here and let’s have yet another reason to feast and party in the city.”

    I prefer that kind of understanding when it comes to festivals that one doesn’t celebrate.

  9. My argument is that personal spirituality has superceded religious beliefs. We all have a much more personal relationship with the day than any mass produced, man made religion could decide.

    The death of Christopher Hitchens is once again shining a great light on this debate as the world’s most beloved atheist’s words are making their way round again.

    ‘The essence of the war over Christmas is the more basic disagreement over the proper expression of religion in the public square. Even if the founders in general never envisioned that the Constitution would be interpreted to mean that no nativity scenes could appear on state-owned premises, is this the actual implication of the establishment and free exercise clauses? Do nativity scenes on City Hall lawns, and Christmas trees in schools, and even the words “Merry Christmas” in government offices, amount to tax-supported endorsements of a particular religion?”

    http://www.patheos.com/Resources/Additional-Resources/How-Christopher-Hitchens-Murdered-Santa-Timothy-Dalrymple?offset=1&max=1

    THAT is my point.

  10. I am like you. I could do without all the religious stuff because I simply don’t believe it. But at the end of the day, Christmas is still a Christian holiday. If we choose to celebrate it in our own way, that’s fine. However, we must also accept that sometimes our favourite radio station will play a song about a baby who was born of a virgin. We might have to hear someone at the mall hypocritically tell their kids about the “true meaning of Christmas” while waiting in line to see Santa Claus, who has about as much to do with the “true meaning of Christmas” as a dump I took in July. It’s just another part of the season, the way I see it.

  11. As an atheist that was raised in a Christian household, I have a hard time “letting go” of the more religiously-themed Christmas carols and traditions. So, I have decided to look at it like this: we sing songs about Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer or Frosty the Snowman (for example), understanding that it is just a story. There is no reason to look at the overtly religious any differently. They are songs about myths that are a part of our culture, and so I will continue to sing along, and enjoy (so long as they aren’t played before December 1st!) without feeling like a hypocrite.

    This article was posted on Richard Dawkin’s website at the beginning of the month. I strongly responded to this atheist’s view of Christmas, and I think you will find it interesting: http://richarddawkins.net/foundation_articles/2012/12/4/a-very-atheist-christmas#.UNM6U2_BF8F

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