I’m not sure about you, but I think it’s a little strange that most people, regardless of religious affiliation or lack thereof, have adopted Christmas as their own personal gift-giving holiday.
I understand that people like giving and receiving gifts, but if you’re choosing to celebrate it as “the holiday to keep retail businesses in the black,” then please call it Gift-Giving Day or Present Day or just about anything else, rather than Christmas.
Christmas has little to do with presents. I know this may come as a shock. Christmas is all about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, just like some of you heard in Sunday school all those years ago.
Two thousand-odd years ago it was not as common to give gifts for birthdays, and please don’t give me the “but the wise men brought gifts to Jesus when he was born so we can exchange presents too” line. Yes, the wise men brought gifts for Jesus, but they only brought them for him. As the story goes, there was no exchanges of gifts, just presents for Jesus.
No evidence exists of gifts being given to Mary or Joseph or anyone else in the stable. Actually, according to most biblical scholars, the wise men arrived between the second or third year after Christ was born, not at his birth. So really, the wise men argument for pro-gift exchanging doesn’t make sense logically.
It also doesn’t help that all the malls and retail stores market Christmas like it’s some sort of commodity. “Come here, get your Christmas! Buy the Christmas spirit!” Christmas really isn’t about any of that.
And just how did a big, fat, white man in a red suit come to symbolize Christmas? While it may be a convenient fit, there is no real logical or rational tie between the good cheer of an imaginary man from the North Pole and the celebration of the Messiah, which is what Christians believe Christmas is actually about.
In order to celebrate Christmas, one should at least recognize the reason for its existence as a holiday. Understand, at least, that it is foremost a religious occasion.
Christmas really is a special day, just as any holy day is special in other religions, such as Ramadan for Muslims and Hanukkah for Jews.
It seems odd that people tend not to celebrate the holidays of other religions they aren’t affiliated with, yet still choose to “celebrate” Christmas. Perhaps this has something to do with Canada being a predominately Christian country at the time it was settled. This probably explains why winter break is called “Christmas holidays” and the city is full of decorations for Christmas. Seriously, just look down Portage Avenue.
I’m not one of those people that says nonsense like “you can’t call it a Christmas tree; you have to call it a ‘multicultural tree.’” That’s not me. I love Christmas. I still hang stockings on my parents’ fireplace. And yes, I do exchange gifts. But I also go to church services, as is common with any other Christian holiday.
So this Christmas, if you celebrate it, please remember what – and who – it is you are truly celebrating.
Melanie Murchison is a criminal justice student at the University of Winnipeg.