Christmas greetings! The links below I previously shared in a December 2011 post. I thought they were worth sharing again. There seems a lot of concern in the Christian community about “keeping Christ in Christmas.” It is disheartening to observe the secularization of our culture. Yet, I think some (much?) of the Christian response is over-reaction, stems from paranoia and fear, and does not reflect a Christ like attitude. But I actually have another secondary point which the links below reveal. Keep Christ in Christmas? Christmas is an invented holiday, and the traditions that go along with it have varied greatly over the centuries. Some of the traditions we hold so dear only came into practice in the last 200 years.
Rather than “keeping Christ in Christmas”, maybe it would be better to focus on keeping Christ a part of our daily lives all throughout the year. If society saw more believers living out genuine lives of faith day-to-day, I think this would be much more effective than fighting the war on Christmas.
- Did you know that for the first 300 years of Christianity, Christmas was not even celebrated? It wasn’t! The holiday did not exist. Some early church leaders were opposed to making Christ’s birth a celebration. The exact date of Christ’s birth was not even certain, and there was debate over what date to choose if it was going to be celebrated. The magazine Christian History does a good job of summarizing this in an article entitled: “Why December 25th?”
- Margaret Mowczko on her NewLife website, has a series of posts that she calls “Christmas Cardology”. Hmm…I think she invented that word “cardology.” -haha! In these well-written posts, she compares the traditional images of Christmas and the Nativity that we typically see on Christmas cards with a more accurate biblical picture of the events surrounding the birth of Christ. The idyllic images on cards often don’t match reality.
- The following resource is a secular one that traces the history of our Christmas traditions. A surprising number of our current traditions only came into practice in the last couple hundred years. For those who enjoy social history, I recommend this book. It is entitled: “The Battle for Christmas” and here is a description:
Anyone who laments the excesses of Christmas might consider the Puritans of colonial Massachusetts: they simply outlawed the holiday. The Puritans had their reasons, since Christmas was once an occasion for drunkenness and riot, when poor “wassailers” extorted food and drink from the well-to-do. In this intriguing and innovative work of social history, Stephen Nissenbaum rediscovers Christmas’s carnival origins and shows how it was transformed, during the nineteenth century, into a festival of domesticity and consumerism.