The Reason for the Season

My father recently came across somebody who said…

This year and every year I will remember the true reason for the season….Jesus is the reason for the season and I will continue to keep CHRIST in CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!!

I think I might have been convinced had they used just one more exclamation point.

Dad responded with his usual measured eloquence.

Jesus may be YOUR reason for the season; however, THE reason for the season is the winter solstice, which was here and being celebrated long before there were any Jews, let alone any Jesus.

“Centuries before the arrival of the man called Jesus, early Europeans celebrated light and birth in the darkest days of winter. In Scandinavia, the Norse celebrated Yule from December 21, the winter solstice, through January. In Germany, people honored the pagan god Oden during the mid-winter holiday. Also around the time of the winter solstice, Romans observed Juvenalia, a feast honoring the children of Rome. In addition, members of the upper classes often celebrated the birthday of Mithra, the god of the unconquerable sun, on December 25.

In the early years of Christianity, Easter was the main holiday; the birth of Jesus was not celebrated. Pope Julius I chose December 25. It is commonly believed that the church chose this date in an effort to adopt and absorb the traditions of the pagan Saturnalia festival.

By holding Christmas at the same time as traditional winter solstice festivals, church leaders increased the chances that Christmas would be popularly embraced, but gave up the ability to dictate how it was celebrated.”

http://www.history.com/topics/christmas

Don’t take my word for it, by all means LOOK IT UP. If you continue the “reason for the season” crap, it makes you look ignorant. Of course, if a lie you like is more important to you than a truth you don’t like, please keep on as before. However, if that is the case, it really says some very negative things about your honesty.

I can’t help but wonder when I hear “I will continue to keep CHRIST in CHRISTMAS”….why don’t you also carry on about keeping MASS in CHRISTMAS? Shouldn’t you (and everyone) go to mass on Christmas? If not, why not? Why one and not the other? It just strikes me as curious you would be vehement about one part and totally ignore the other part of “Christmas”.

I don’t think anyone cares if you “keep Christ in Christmas”, but it certainly it appears that you may have a problem with those who choose not to. Quite often, there is an ugly, bullying aspect to this dispute, in which the pro-Christmas forces are not only asking, reasonably, that their religion be treated with equal status and respect but in which they are attacking legitimate efforts at inclusivity. I don’t care if you keep Christ in YOUR Christmas, but you have no right whatsoever to try to make anyone else try to keep him in THEIRS. None. Zero. Nada.

There is something profoundly wrong with the behavior of Christians using Christmas in their Culture War against modernity. It is claimed by some that use of Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas excludes Christmas and is anti-Christian. This is nonsense. People use “Happy Holidays” to cover all holidays during the season, including Christmas. Christians who get upset over this aren’t seeking tolerance or respect, they are seeking privilege and status. They want others to make them feel better about themselves by treating Christianity as special and more important than other religions.

It isn’t. And it’s followers are not better–and no worse–than anybody else.

Some are turning the phrase Merry Christmas into a fetish, something done for its own sake instead of using it as a sincere greeting. It’s an aggressive statement about one’s own identity that is thrown in the face of others as a challenge or even an insult. It’s not about defending religious meaning in Christmas, but defending a religious identity and a set of traditional privileges. Only you know if you are one of these, but from the appearance of your post above…….you are.

We’ve reached the point where the traditionally empowered majority wants to stake its claim to a piece of victimhood pie. The “War on Christmas” has never been about religious freedom, individual rights, or even the supposed scourge of political correctness. Rather, it’s just an attempt to get attention, jockey for victimhood, and to impose your preferences onto everyone. The ability to celebrate as you and your loved ones wish to celebrate has never, ever been at issue. Never. Ever. So, I support your right to keep Christ in Christmas. It would be real American and tolerant of you to support my right not to.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.


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