Yes, indeed: Siobhon McManus
There is something so disarming about the holiday season. An elated atmosphere, the streets a little brighter, and strangers more comely – this time of the year we celebrate our world’s ever-radiant, silver lining.
Yet, for all its magic and inspired humanity, modern Christmas seems to thrive in a cultural vacuum, the great escape into a season of gilded glory. Conflicted, we fall for scintillating images and dreamlike feelings that have already been prepared for abandonment. We know that by winter’s end, December’s childlike wonder becomes nothing more than an affair to remember.
It is tragic, that the cyclic nature of modern celebration perpetuates cheapened, seasonal benevolence. No matter how authentic our experience, it seems that the moment we bind hope and joy to stagnant representations, we shirk our responsibility to let this beloved Christmas persona exist beyond the holidays.
Maybe as Christians, we feel we are exempt because, after all, we understand the true meaning of Christmas, right? We cannot possibly be susceptible to the same, fleeting nature of our secular counterparts! Au contraire, my friends. As a community of believers, we continue to limit reflection on Christ’s glorious incarnation to a single holiday, setting deadlines on our genesis of hope. But divine truth that does not take hold is futile. Rekindled belief then becomes as durable as Wal-Mart wrapping paper.
This Christmas, let us trade in holiday delirium for a time of pensive rest. When our homes no longer smell of peppermint, and shopkeepers take down their tinsel-laden placards, may emptied pews still ring with truth.
No, not really: Zachary McGuirk
Many Christians complain about modern Christmas, calling it a holiday centered on consumerism and materialism. Many claim the Christ has been ripped straight from the day’s meaning, replacing our savior with a big man in a red suit. Those who have studied the origins of both Christmas and Christ, however, may find that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the modern view on Christmas.
The claim that Christmas is about Jesus’ birth has been disproven by numerous historians, and most speculation points to a March or September birthday. Christian leaders in the early 4th century started celebrating the birth in December to combat a Roman holiday called Saturnalia, which promoted all kinds of morally depraved behaviors including rape and human sacrifice. Obviously something had to be done, so the early Catholic Church substituted sinful indulgence and murder with gift giving!
It is tough to argue that Christians have lost sight of what Christmas is all about when its actual origins are not quite as glamorous as we once thought. Christmas, regardless of its name or incarnation, has always been a holiday with different meanings for everyone. The only shared themes across all versions of Christmas seem to be generosity and family togetherness, which our modern traditions still have at heart.
Christians who want a Christ-friendly Christmas can still take solace in modern traditions. Gift-giving is reflective of Christ’s selflessness and sacrifice. Feasting has always been a symbol of celebration in the Bible, and a large family dinner can be reflective of the times Jesus gathered his disciples to eat. Even Santa, a man with wondrous gifts offered to everyone on earth, can be seen as a parallel to the availability of salvation through Christ to anyone who wants it.
In the end, mindset is what is most important. Give gifts generously, not to receive something in return. Feast with family to be together and love each other, not just to fill up as much as possible before the drive home. There has never been anything wrong with the way we celebrate Christmas, just the way we think about it.
Stay safe this winter, Northwest. And celebrate the holidays in whatever way makes you feel the best!