Sunday, December 02, 2012

Happy Birthday, Somebody

This is trying not to be a "Snarky Things" post, because I acknowledge that it is unfair to be snarky about people's carefully thought out religious convictions. And I recognize that celebrating holidays is explicitly made a matter of personal conviction. And I also acknowledge that I do not necessarily know why people believe what they do and they may perhaps have very good reasons for it.

However, I note that there are a fair number of practicing Christians who don't celebrate Christmas, sometimes because of its pagan origins, sometimes just because of its extra-Biblical origins. Because somebody made it up once upon a time. Very well. Same goes for Easter.

But then, they notice that their lives and their children's lives are lacking in celebrations. Everybody needs an excuse to throw a party, decorate, dress up, have fun. So they go out and make up a new celebration. (One family always watched The Ten Commandments on Easter. I can only guess that Easter was too pagan, but Hollywood wasn't.)

Or they do up birthdays fancy to take the place of Christmas. So instead of devoting weeks to the contemplation and celebration of the coming of God to the world, they make the big celebration all about . . . me. Yay, me!

And . . . this mystifies me. At least the pagans had the humility to celebrate something bigger than themselves. At least their celebrations were tied to the seasons God made. How is stuff made up today inherently superior to the celebrations that have been held by the saints through the ages?

On the one hand, I can better appreciate the Christians who decide to start celebrating Jewish holidays, because at least they are real holidays. On the other hand, I wouldn't feel too comfortable getting carried away with it because it just seems like poor etiquette--like the Sons of Italy crashing the Leif Erikson Day parade.

No, the traditional Christian holidays are not commanded by God, nor are they untainted by any outside influence. But neither is anything that is going to be made up to take their place. And I, for one, am thankful for the chance to join hands with the saints of all times and places and throw a big party because God came here.

4 comments:

Diary of an Autodidact said...

It struck me that Christianity is a bit Borg-like. Your pagan holiday traditions? Do not resist, you will be assimilated. Bwahahaha!

Carrie said...

And to this I say - AMEN!

Regina Tassell said...

Very well said, Karen!

Rachelle said...

Amen! How can we NOT be filled with joy!