Thursday, 11 December 2008

Mistletoe and whine

This is a short post because I'm incredibly busy. Someone thought it a good idea to have "some friends" over on Friday night... and "some friends" has turned into "almost everyone we know" (but not really) and thus there is loads to be done - alongside all the reading I have to get through, presents to wrap, politicians to mock...

Anyway, I wander off topic. This is really a response to my last post and a question I want to ask people who read this:
Are those people who classify themselves as "atheists" or those who do not subscribe to Christian beliefs hypocrites if they indulge in present giving or any other feature of the Christmas holiday?
A question that has been bothering me for a while. Guess if the answer is yes then we're talking about a huge percentage of the population.

I don't know if I think it or not - I just wondered if there was anyone with a strong view on the issue?


PJ 11 December 2008 at 15:50  

I have a strong view!

I am a church-attending God-loving Christian. For me Christmas is not about the presents and the meal. I used to get a bit disillusioned about the commercialisation of Christmas and the PC brigade's insistence that we celebrate a non-denominational holiday - whatever that was meant to be! But now I don't and there's two reasons for that.

Firstly, I have two young children who are almost turning themselves inside out with excitement about Christmas. We've had a pretty rough year as a family and this Christmas is about being together and being happy - the rest of life will be put to one side for a few blissful days. It's not just about religion or faith, it's also about enjoying a brief respite from whatever our normal lives burdens may be.

Secondly, I would love to live in a world where my faith and beliefs were shared by everyone but I don't. What I see happening at Christmas is a glimpse of the kind of behaviour that I value - kindness, consideration and love. Not always and not everywhere but I see it more at Christmas than any other time. That to me is what Christmas should be about for all people regardless of faith, belief in a better future.

Anything that unites people in this fragmented society and world can only be a good thing. My favourite Voltaire quote is that "if there were not a God there would be a need to create one". We all need some peace in our lives and if we find a little at Christmas we can be thankful to whatever God we might believe in.

Ewan 11 December 2008 at 19:47  

No Christian worth the name would ever say people should not participate in Christmas activities, even the purely commercial ones, for even in those activities their lies the possibility that they will reflect on the deeper meaning or roots of the moment and ask what it is they do believe.

And more importantly, its not for Christians to judge, it is for each of us to make choices with integrity and not to wake up in the morning with regrets...

PJ 11 December 2008 at 20:23  

I wholeheartedly agree - and wish I'd said that!

Malc 11 December 2008 at 20:31  

PJ, Ewan,

Thanks for the comments. And I agree with you both. Wholeheartedly in fact. Which is why I have to say this: at no point (Ewan!) did I say people shouldn't participate in Christmas activities. All I did was ask if anyone thought the charge of hypcrisy could be levelled at people who engage in Christmas on a purely commercial level.

Anyway, that's not really my point, because, like you, I don't think it is for us to judge.

I guess there's always been a feeling, for me personally, that Christmas has been hijacked by commercial interests, and that detracts from the enormity of the occasion and what it means. Does that make more sense?

What I mean, really, is at what point it stops being a celebration and starts being... something else? And that is what concerns me.

But yes, I do hope that reflection upon the meaning of Christmas is something that happens in every household.

Shuna 12 December 2008 at 10:58  

I love Christmas and all the fuss that goes with it. I love the build up, the nights out, the shopping. But as a Christian I fully understand the significance of the occassion.
I also hope that others can still see a glimpse of Christ in it all.
I have no real beef about 'aethiests' indulging. My hope would be that they are at least touched by the real Christmas.

But I do have a beef about the word 'Christmas' being ditched in favour of 'Winter' i.e. Winter Festivals that finish after Twelth Night??? As a Christian can I not be offended by this??

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