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Origin Of Holidays

Origins Of Christmas - A Little Essay About The Meaning Of Christmas


When I was growing up as a Jehovah's Witness, we did not observe Christmas and avoided it like the plague. Christmas was considered an evil, pagan holiday wrapped up in the deceptive cloth of fun. It was reasoned that one could forget the real meanings and origins of the holiday and be lead into a pagan agenda. Therefore, this holiday, as well as many other holidays and birthdays, were avoided by our religion and that of a few other Christian religions.

During the last 200 years, Christmas went from a Victorian pristine celebration focused solely on the children to a more commercialized atmosphere. It bothers some and is accepted by many. The holiday is what you make of it.

You can choose to be a purist Christian and avoid the holiday, but that does not change the fact that others around you are enjoying it. You could remain somber and pooh-pooh on all the excitement around you and look down your nose at others believing yourself holier than all those pagans, but it won't dissuade anyone and make you miserable in the process. To you, this is just another day and the reminders are painful to watch.

You could choose the moderate Christian view and observe this as a holiday only about Jesus and ignore the playful symbolism such as Santa Claus and focus only on the virgin birth, the manger scene, or any symbol only related to it being the birthday of Christ, but look down your nose at others who spoil your holiday with secular meaning. It won't stop those around you.

You could be a neo-pagan who gets really into the ancient meanings of the season and look down your nose at those who are too uptight and uppity about the holiday and rub it in their faces. It won't change their minds and robs you from your joy of this time.

You could be a cynical merchant who is more concerned about creating a phony atmosphere of a perfection of the holidays for people to buy into to create your profits while ignoring cries from those who get depressed because they cannot afford to buy into your ad for the season. It doesn't particularly make you a bad guy, but many will look at you as a cold-hearted money grubber.

Even if you stand somewhere in between one of those extremes, it doesn't matter. People will observe this day and in each person it will carry with it whatever image they wish to see whether a positive or a negative one.

People sometimes like to discount holidays such as Kwanzaa because they deem it to be a made up holiday based on nothing real. If you really think about it, all holidays, including Christmas, are made up holidays based on nothing real. It is only when we apply whatever we want the day to mean that makes it a holiday. To the ancients, this was the holiday to gather with family and friends while appeasing the gods who control the seasons. To the pagans, it was also a time to gather with family and friends while honoring their gods. To the Christians, they also gathered with family and friends while paying homage to the birth of Jesus. When it comes right down to it, all holidays are a time to enjoy life and those you love - who really needs an excuse? Why do you think so many atheists, agnostics, and non-Christians also celebrate the holiday?

If you observe the holiday or not, at least treat that day as you should any day of the year. Each day is a precious day, a gift, something you are given that cannot be taken for granted. Treat others as you wish to be treated. Do something good for someone. Do something good for yourself. Take time to tell those around you that you love them and care as they may not be around the next day.

Before you get high and mighty on your position of how you feel about the holiday, keep in mind life is too short to argue on this to convert people to your side of the issue. Enjoy it or avoid it, but never take that day or any day for granted.