Culture and Religion

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Keep Christ in Christmas

As Christmas approaches I expect to hear 'keep the Christ in Christmas.' Christmas is an interesting combination of culture and religion.

In the fourth century, the catholic church chose December 25 for its religious holy day because the Roman Empire already celebrated the winter solstice (when days start to get longer) on that day. Over the years of the Roman Empire and later the British Empire the religious and cultural celebrations of the various cultures being integrated into the empire meant different customs, like for the winter solstice, were also merged.
Now Christmas is celebrated by most countries in the world on the same day though in many cases without any religious connotations. Christians often follow both their religious tradition and the widespread non-religious alternative of a family dinner, often a gift exchange and maybe all the rest of the commercialized holiday with Santa and all the rest. In many countries the Christmas holiday is a celebration of family, like in America. Also many employers in America even allow employees to participate in a pot luck occasion near the holiday for sharing food to also celebrate the workplace comradery.

To say put Christ in Christmas, often with the intent of putting Christian symbols or doctrines into a non-Christian context, is not appropriate as there is no state religion. Examples are a nativity scene on local government grounds, creationism in public schools, the ten commandments in a court house. This practice means everyone regardless of their religion must conform with those Christian traditions or least be subjected to that unwanted preaching.
There are many diverse Christmas celebrations in America and around the world and they should not be forced into following Christianity.
If Christians want more emphasis on Christ in their religion's activities around this holiday then do it. There is no problem with whatever is in a church. The big problem is when that emphasis intrudes on the activities of all those not in that religion. The many religions in the world must be considered.

I can see where some religions could take offense at certain aspects of American culture like the emphasis on baseball and football. Other countries emphasize soccer. Maybe Christmas is like that, rooted in the culture. However it is difficult to imagine trying to change the popular aspects of the national culture just to suit a small religious sect.

Do we really need a reminder to keep the family in Christmas?

created - December 24, 2017
last change - 12/26/2017
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