This year I’m re-gifting! That is if you think that any of my blogs are gifts in the first place. Anyway, here is my blog post from last Christmas Eve which perhaps is a bit more fitting this year because Christmas and Hanukkah will be celebrated at just about the same time. Hanukkah begins on the 24th, Christmas Eve, and ends on the 1st of January, New Years Day, so it truly is a happy holidays for one and all…not that it isn’t always but, you know what I mean. This year we blend the Judaeo-Christian traditions simultaneously.
So my question last year was: Who is the Star of Christmas? And my answer is…
Santa Claus! Am I wrong?
If one wants to put the Christ in Christmas shouldn’t one go to mass? Why would I want to see a religious display in front of my local municipal building or at the airport or in a department store or public square? Would we expect to see product commercials in a church? Do we expect to see any other religious symbols representing any of the other many and varied religions of the world on public display in public buildings?
So what’s the big deal? Not even Christ was Christian. While he walked the Earth he never professed to be anything other than a Jew, nor did he profess that anyone else should be otherwise. I do believe that he would be appalled to find out that people were worshiping him these days since he never once instructed people anywhere to do that. (I know that is silly for me to say because he already knows everything)…but did he not once say:
“Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s”…and um, I think that would be where Santa Claus and Christmas belong…in the Caesar category. Have you ever been shopping during the holiday season? Of course you have. So I ask you, would you place that experience among Godly things or Caesarian ones?
But I digress because although the gift giving and the good cheer associated with Santa do blend in well with the basic tenets of peace on Earth, good will to all, why would Jesus be involved with Christmas? Easter is the truly religious holiday of the Christian faith. Christmas is simply supposed to commemorate Jesus’ birth but one can’t celebrate the birth of God can one? Gods aren’t born, are they?
So to celebrate Jesus’ birth is to celebrate his birth as a human being or man and that takes us back to his living his life as a devout Jew who sought to follow the traditions and laws of Judaism and while he may have campaigned for reforms towards a more accessible worship of Judaism he never campaigned for a new religion to replace Judaism based on himself as God and savior.
The apostle Paul did that and he was neither one of the apostles nor named Paul! So that takes us right back to our faith and our belief that what we believe in is the true path to salvation and an afterlife in heaven. But faith is what we have in the absence of factual evidence and who is to say that our faith is any better than anyone elses faith in anything else…since we all lack evidence or proof that what we believe in is true.
When Jesus was asked: “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” His answer was: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.”
So I think that the Christmas tradition of Santa Claus is a great and simple way to remind us all that while we adults worry ourselves with hatred or revenge, religious or racial differences, or trying to accumulate wealth or power, the key is to “do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God”? And treat others as you would have yourself be treated…And by all means judge not. (now who can say they do that on a regular basis?)
Just have a Merry Christmas and spread some cheer and good will and do your best to make children smile and have hope for a future where our beliefs will someday lead us towards one another and not in opposite directions, on this all too finite of worlds.