I have an exam tomorrow and rather than revising I felt the need for some guilt free procrastination. Hence this post on Christmas and how this year I’ll be celebrating it on the 26th. Before I get into the why I should probably say that this is not a 'my way of celebrating Christmas is better than yours' thing, I couldn’t care less about how you celebrate Christmas. No, I just think that how my family goes about Christmas is interesting and so I share it.
This year the 25th December falls on a Sunday as such my family will be celebrating it on the 26th instead, a day late. Most people think this is a little (read: very) strange. Fair enough. I doubt I’ll convince anyone otherwise but that’s that never stopped me writing anything before.
Split Christmas into its two different celebrations: the first is the commercial celebration, that is the giving and receiving of presents, family time, excellent Christmas lunch, crackers, turkeys, Doctor Who Christmas Special, Christmas trees, decorations, more good food, board games, forced family fun, the whole stereotypical Christmas scene. And the second part is the religious side, the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, the ‘real’ meaning of Christmas.
Here’s where it gets interesting – my Dad, as a minister, is not a big fan of the whole religious side of things but sees no problem with the commercial Christmas. Part of me wonders if it’s because he’s too lazy to be bothered preaching on Christmas day but that’s sheer cynicism on my part. In many ways the Christmas we celebrate as a family is a purely secular one. Sure, we have a carol service but no service on Christmas day and no singing happy birthday to Jesus. Christmas, after all, isn’t in the Bible and was instituted by the Catholic Church as a replacement for pagan winter celebrations. Jesus was more likely born in the spring because no sane person holds a census in the winter. In fact, there’s no religious holidays set down in the Bible, it’s a cultural tradition that many other cultures don’t follow. Don’t get me wrong, that’s nothing wrong per ce with a religious celebration of Christmas except if that’s the only time you think of Jesus in a given year because then it’s just blatant hypocrisy. Equally, there’s no call to celebrate it if you don’t want to.
What is in the Bible is the celebration of Sunday as the Lord’s day. This means that when our commercial celebration of Christmas conflicts with a Sunday then it comes out the loser and is relegated to the next day. Arguably the two don’t conflict but I think my Dad, as a minister, felt he couldn’t devote enough of his attention to family time and the like because of the requirements of two services. Some may view this as a little extreme, some a tad weird, many a combination of the two and to be honest it is hard to evaluate because it's what we're always done. Eccentric it may be but I still rather like it and it's not as if God is excluded from our commercial Christmas.
"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."
James 1 v 17
As trite as it sounds, where there's happiness, goodness, presents and fun God is there. Every iota of joy I gain from Christmas is a gift from God. That's probably closer to the real meaning of Christmas than it being a birthday celebration.
As I said before I don’t think the way I celebrate Christmas is superior to any other. It’s just a way among others. That’s pretty much all I have to say other than Merry Christmas, I hope you enjoy it, if you want to send me a present please send it to my home address. Thanks.