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Celebrating Christmas?


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Guest wayfarer2k

How do you celebrate the Christmas Holiday as a progressive Christian (and others)?

 

Where I am in life, I tend to contrast my experiences as a conservative with my ideas now. It makes for some interesting discussions in my head, but leads to alot of "Well, I just don't know anymore..."

 

For instance, when I was a conservative, I felt that Christmas was WAY too commercialized. I disliked the Santa imagery, feeling that it overshadowed the "true message of Christmas" found in Jesus. I disliked the giving of presents to people who won't give us the time of day the rest of the year. And I always criticized people because it seems that it is only during Christmas that we are the kinds of humans that we should be.

 

But...well, I just don't know anymore.

 

Now, though I guess I disdain the commercialization of Christmas, we at least still have the holiday as a symbol for each of us to interpret.

 

I kinda like Santa now, especially after I researched the real Saint Nicholaus. I kinda think Santa and Jesus go hand-in-hand in some ways and don't deride manger scenes where Santa is shown worshipping the baby Jesus. I mean, manger scenes are NOT about history, they are about symbology. Santa, who despite claiming to bring presents to only GOOD boys and girls, exercises grace and gives to most everyone.

 

And though I well know that we don't act like "Christmasians" the entire year and tend to relegate being gifting people to one day or season, there are signs of hope that many of us try to make this world a better place day after day, year after year.

 

What do you think about Christmas? Is is all about tradition or does it still communicate some truth to you? Should we shelve it because all that is left is mythology? Or is the mythology enough? Or is the mythology the very power of Christmas?

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How do you celebrate the Christmas Holiday as a progressive Christian (and others)?

 

Where I am in life, I tend to contrast my experiences as a conservative with my ideas now. It makes for some interesting discussions in my head, but leads to alot of "Well, I just don't know anymore..."

 

For instance, when I was a conservative, I felt that Christmas was WAY too commercialized. I disliked the Santa imagery, feeling that it overshadowed the "true message of Christmas" found in Jesus. I disliked the giving of presents to people who won't give us the time of day the rest of the year. And I always criticized people because it seems that it is only during Christmas that we are the kinds of humans that we should be.

 

But...well, I just don't know anymore.

 

Now, though I guess I disdain the commercialization of Christmas, we at least still have the holiday as a symbol for each of us to interpret.

 

I kinda like Santa now, especially after I researched the real Saint Nicholaus. I kinda think Santa and Jesus go hand-in-hand in some ways and don't deride manger scenes where Santa is shown worshipping the baby Jesus. I mean, manger scenes are NOT about history, they are about symbology. Santa, who despite claiming to bring presents to only GOOD boys and girls, exercises grace and gives to most everyone.

 

And though I well know that we don't act like "Christmasians" the entire year and tend to relegate being gifting people to one day or season, there are signs of hope that many of us try to make this world a better place day after day, year after year.

 

What do you think about Christmas? Is is all about tradition or does it still communicate some truth to you? Should we shelve it because all that is left is mythology? Or is the mythology enough? Or is the mythology the very power of Christmas?

 

I still have teenagers at home (even though I am 57 and my wife is 50) and we have a traditional Christmas. Spiritualy, I emphasis it is a time of birth of the Christ spirit and whether the accepted Christmas story is 100% true or not is really irrelevant. As Borg might say, the story transcends literalism. That fits in nicely with the New Year and maybe some resolutions. We put up a tree and exchange a few presents but definetly avoid the "need for greed" spirit of the season.This year we are going to travel in between Christmas and New Years and see relatives and friends. We are way out in the boonies of rural Northern Michigan (Michigan's Upper Peninsula) and a trip to Detroit or Chicago once in a while is always fun.

 

Even though my beliefs now transcend traditional Christianity, I think culture and societal norms have a place. I think a lot of us that are in Progressive Christianity now, that may have had a few spiritual journeys that took us out of Christianity but then knew we were missing something from our culture, the way we were raised, and the people around us. We looked at Christianity with new eyes, inspired by the Progressive Christian awakening, and are returning to the fold.

Edited by Jim Ramelis
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  • 1 month later...

I celebrate Christmas as a secular holiday like Valentine's Day, Halloween, 4th of July, Thanksgiving... I guess that is the rest of them! I love Christmas. It is my favorite holiday. I love the decorations, the music (some of it) spending time with family and having a time when it is okay to buy presents for people (and even ask people for specific stuff!)

 

I say if Christians really want to celebrate it as a religious holiday they need to: stop giving gifts to each other (giving to the poor would be a good alternative); not celebrate in December. We know that Jesus was NOT born between November and February (if there is any truth to the biblical stories); lose the pine trees, greenery, poinsettas, etc. etc.

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During this season, a book group that I belong to has been reading The First Christmas by Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan. This experience has added a new dimension to Christmas to the ideas I already had. I see and have seen great value in the idea of incarnation as a way of understanding our relationship to the divine. So if we can imagine God as incarnate in one individual (whether or not that is exactly or literally the case) then we can see God as incarnate in all of us. I have long appreciated the Quaker notion of " that of God in thee" for example.

 

Now having read Borg and Crossan's (B&C) book, I have a new appreciation for the Christmas stories as a direct challenge to the domination systems of the world. B&C demonstrated the possibility that the Matthew and Luke versions of the Christmas story demonstrate clearly that it is Jesus, and not Caesar, who is to be seen as the chosen one. The idea that someone of the peasant class might pose such a challenge has (for me) relevance today as we engage in actions that challenge the power structures in our society and question that claims of legitimacy.

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