In my opinion, the Christmas season is a beautiful time of year. I grew up in a strong Christian home where, when asked, we knew that Christmas was about Jesus’ birth. Whether or not it was exactly on Dec. 25 is debatable, but this is the day on which we celebrate.
Yes, Santa made his appearance, and it was always terrific to get those fun toys and candy canes. But ultimately, it’s a religious holiday that holds strong meaning for many who share the Christian faith. It's a time of hope.
But as I’ve broadened my relationships with people of different religious upbringings, and some with no belief in a “god,” I’ve become more aware of something.
There are many non-Christians who also celebrate Christmas. They look forward to the holiday songs. They rush alongside everyone else to get their Christmas shopping done. I’m intrigued by this, and perhaps a little confused.
Why someone who doesn’t believe in Jesus would celebrate this very special occasion?
TELL US: Do you think that non-Christians should celebrate Christmas?
Indeed, it seems Christmas has become a non-religious holiday and more of the commercialized holiday that people find easier to accept regardless of their religious beliefs.
Elves, Santa, brightly lit trees, and creative T.V. commercials including colorful M&Ms and polar bears popping open refreshing bottles of Coke are some of the images we conjure up when we think of the word "Christmas."
Have you ever seen a "Jesus" commercial? It's kind of funny when you think about it.
I realize there are still many who do not celebrate the Christmas holiday – Jews, Jehovah Witnesses, Buddhists, Muslims, etc. They have their own holidays and traditions that hold meaning to them. They leave Christmas to the Christians.
There are also some who practice multiple religious holidays (such as Jewish and Christian holidays) because they were raised by parents from differing religious backgrounds. Rather than choose one faith over the other, they celebrate both and teach their children the value of each, allowing them to choose which path feels right to them.
I recently asked people who celebrate Christmas despite having blended religious backgrounds or who have no religion at all why they participate in the Christmas holiday:
“The kids "get" it is our birthday party for Jesus. They also understand Jews believe they are still waiting for the messiah, that Jesus was a wonderful person who understood God's rules, but not the messiah. Our kids see first hand that although Mommy and Daddy have different beliefs, we can work together and figure it out. We give the gifts for Hanukkah and a nice present for Christmas, but Santa handles most of the Christmas presents here.” ~ Nancy Salomon
“There has always been a year end festival, one of the earlier names for this holiday was Saturnalia. It involved decorated trees, candles and much merriment. The Christians started celebrating their Christmas holiday at this time of year to blend in with the preexisting festival. There has always been a celebration of the return of the sunlight. I am an atheist, I celebrate the spirit of the season.” ~ Al Fundo
“While Christmas originated as a Christian holiday, it has certainly become tradition in the secular world as well. While I was raised catholic, my wife and I are both atheist.” ~ Joe
As we continue into the peak of this holiday season, I will celebrate Christmas with a full appreciation for what it is founded in. Jesus’ birth!
And thanks to the legend known as Seinfeld, Festivus is always an option too.