If you live in a developed nation, there’s a good chance you have Christmas Day off from work. In any nation with a Christian heritage, it’s the legacy of a religious holiday. In Japan, the day before is a holiday, simply because it happens to be the Emperor’s birthday. In China, it’s a major shopping day.
In years past I’ve gone into the pagan roots of this holiday, and how it’s hardly Christian at all. I’ve speculated about why Christianity took the various turns it did, and discussed the times when Christmas, the drinking holiday was banned.
None of this has anything to do with our present reality, however.
The main purpose of holidays is to have a day apart. It’s a day to do nothing, except cultivate the imagination and spirit of joy in children. We do this in large part because we want to be reminded what that felt like, and live vicariously through them. Life should be like this, we should have something like Christmas every day.
But, alas, we don’t. Life is a veil of toil and trouble, of soil and struggle, always fighting to keep up appearances and make the scratch we need to get by.
Many non-Christians are vaguely offended by the holiday, although most in the Western world are simply used to it. You might as well make the best of it, perhaps with a big Chinese dinner and a movie. Why not? You’ll see all your friends and it’ll be a wonderful time.
That, of course, is the real point.
So whether we like it or not, the spirit of Christmas comes to everyone who is open to it. It’s not really Christian, but it has acquired some Christian clothes that don’t fit very well unless you are as round as Santa. And if you want to be that shape, well, just keep eating all the cookies. It’s OK, it’s Winter. You can claim that it’s just “seasonal weight” and no one will get on your case until about March.
The point is that we all need a day off when the quality of life drops with the thermometer. It had to be one day, so why not around the time of the birth of the one we worship? Yes, I’m talking Sol Invictus again, but Jesus was pretty cool, too. Whatever. You can look at this so many ways and only a real Grinch would argue the point.
So let’s not argue. Let’s be imaginative and happy and peaceful and just let it all come. It’s Christmas, whatever that means to you. I hope it’s a great one!