Why make such a big deal about Christmas?

Index of Christmas holiday posts

How the Grinch Stole ChristmasDifferent people react differently to Christmas traditions, such as those listed in the previous post, Christmas nights at home.

If you and your family choose not to celebrate Christmas like we do, or even not to observe Christmas at all, we certainly have no objection and will not think of you as a grinch. 🙂 The history of Christmas observance is complex and fascinating! And every family is different. There is no right or wrong way to celebrate Christmas.

Note: I’m speaking here of Christmas; not the involuntary Xmas commercial “racket,” as C. S. Lewis described it in God in the Dock (“Xmas and Christmas,” and “What Christmas Means to Me”; cf. Skipping Christmas.)

Yet surely we can all agree that it is not wrong for those who voluntarily choose to celebrate Christmas to observe it in ways they enjoy.

For our part, we celebrate Christmas the way we do for both theological and practical reasons:

Theologically, Christmas is a celebration of the Incarnation, of God becoming human flesh. It is a mistake to separate the person of Christ and his work; they are one and the same. The union of God and humanity in Christ is the gospel, and not even the cross or resurrection may be properly understood apart from it. Practice and belief go together. The mystery of the Incarnation cannot be fathomed in a lifetime of reflection. So the practice of Christmas may lead us to discern internal connections between the person of Christ and all that we believe.

As a youngster, I remember coming to believe that there was a joy behind Christmas that would be a mysterious center of Christian faith, if I could devote myself to searching it out.  My continual desire to practice Christmas over the years led me to ponder the Incarnation as central, the mystery of Immanuel as very God and very man, and therefore to Trinitarian theology.

Practically, the celebration of Christmas met our desire as parents of young children to infuse their lives with the joy and imagination of Christian faith.

And even apart from child-rearing, loosely following the liturgical year appeals to us because it shapes the years of our lifetimes together in the same way that the melodies and rhythms of music shape our temporal experience on a shorter time-scale, and it connects us through the ages in the communion of saints.

For us, the most important aspect of celebrating Christmas is joy. So the question is not whether others celebrate Christmas like we do, but that in whatever each family chooses to do, it’s all done for joy, not out of mere social convention or obligation.

So, again, regardless of what you choose to do, we wish you a Merry Christmas!

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3 Responses to Why make such a big deal about Christmas?

  1. Pingback: Celebrating Christmas – Santa Claus | Kerry's loft

  2. Pingback: Christmas season – index of holiday posts | Kerry's loft

  3. Pingback: The Joy of Christmas | Kerry's loft

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