Christmas and Hanukkah

I ordered our menorah the other day, I can’t wait for it to get here. I waited too long to order it last year and couldn’t get it in time. I’m really thankful to be able to give my kids something to observe during this huge holiday season. Eden, especially, has been so full of questions and I wanted to give her more answers than Jim’s “I hate Christmas.” (Explaining why Eden says “My dad hates Christmas” is really fun, let me tell you!) But all those inquisitive questions have stirred a lot of thought within me.

Each year that I don’t celebrate Christmas, it becomes easier to not celebrate Christmas. I’d even say that this year, I choose to not celebrate it. I’ve discussed this with many people recently and it seems most people who are uncomfortable with Christmas are uncomfortable with the consumeristic side of the holiday. I think I take more discomfort in the history of the holiday. (Although, doesn’t it seem strange to you that our whole society revolves around Christmas? The stock market revolves around good 4th quarter sales. Retail businesses can be made or broke by the Christmas season. People spend all year paying off their Christmas purchases, just to charge their cards back up again.)

I think the reason that I (and others) held onto Christmas so tight at first, is because of all the memories and all that it meant to me in the past. But I’m coming to believe that just because something has great tradition and it’s “what we always have done”, doesn’t make it worthwhile. There is no changing the history of how Christmas began and where it draws it’s traditions. I personally find it important to know the history of the holidays we celebrate, because by continuing to celebrate them we’re perpetuating that history – wether we know about it or not.

I believe that Christmas is ultimately a pagan holiday. Jesus’ birth was incorporated into that pagan holiday by the early Catholic church in order to make it easier for the “pagans” to convert. December 25th was not when Jesus was born. We don’t celebrate Jesus’ birth during this time because we’re just not comfortable incorporating paganism into our worship of God.

I think what it boils down to is being honest with yourself, even if that means not keeping the traditions you once did. Or maybe it means developing new traditions. I know that Christmas is a meaningful time to many people, even a time that brings them closer to God, and I’m glad that they have that. I think everyone must decide what is right for themselves and their families. I am thankful this year that I’ve come to this clarity of mind. It makes it much easier when I’m translating it into 3 year old speak.

Category: church/spiritual beliefs, holidays 6 comments »

6 Responses to “Christmas and Hanukkah”

  1. Candice

    Maybe this is it (email?)

  2. Carol

    Happy Hanukkah!

    I’m Pagan & I have never heard that Christmas was invented to convert the Pagans to Christianity. Interesting.

    We do celebrate Christmas, mainly because my dh is Catholic. But I personally like to celebrate Yule, like every other Pagan I know. I don’t know any that celebrate Christmas as “their” holiday. But I’m going to look more into what you mentioned — it’s intriguing to me & I’d like to find out more.


  3. alex

    this made me think so much thanks. As I struggle to relate to something and create traditions of my own. Braking from the shell of what should be or what should have been. A tree is not cathlic or christian you are right its pagan and thats why I still can stand to have one. I decorate it with only iceicles lights and snowflakes nothing else its a symbol of winter. How does one develop tradition and find ones own path. My husband and I working on this I hope we have something for when we have a kid so I can pass it on. …Thanks for touching on this most deep and complex topic your amazing.

  4. jessie

    How funny, I was just scoping out this menorah in my C&B catalog.

    as you know, i’m not jewish, but i’m always wondering why some of the old rituals and ceremonies are left out of modern day christianity, while others are not…

    i think i’d like to my children to learn the significance of both traditions. after all, all christians share the common roots of judaism.

    i appreciated your post.

  5. jessie

    oops, this menorah.
    (i guess i put the link in incorrectly)

  6. pretendingsanity » passion

    […] More about my thoughts on this in the past here. […]

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