Happy holidays?! Humbug! The American Family Association is once again urging Christian shoppers to boycott stores that don’t expressly include the word “Christmas” in their store advertising.
At the risk of finding a lump of coal in my stocking, I should point out that a) Christmas is no longer a
“Christian holiday” and b) there are other gift-giving holidays during December.
Hanukkah, Festival of Lights
Hanukkah commemorates the rededication of Jewish Temple in Jerusalem in 165 B.C. following its capture from Syrian forces. Judah Maccabee and his forces drove out the Syrians. To celebrate the recapture of the Temple, the Jews wanted to light the Temple’s golden menorah, or candlestick. But they only had enough oil to burn for one day. Miraculously, the oil burned for eight days! Thus, Hanukkah is a joyous celebration that commemorates that miracle by lighting a candle each night from December 24-January 1. (Note: Jesus is recorded commemorating Hanukkah in John 10:22-23.)
The celebration of Kwanzaa, December 26 through January 1, is not based on any religious tradition but was developed from African harvest festivals. “Kwanzaa” translates into “first fruits” in Swahili. Seven principles are featured over the seven days: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.
St. Lucia Day
In Scandinavia, St. Lucia Day is celebrated on December 13 to honor a young Christian martyred for her faith during the harsh Diocletianic persecution. According to legend, she brought food to Christians hiding in the catacombs. Rather than carrying a lamp, she wore candles woven into a wreath around her head in order to carry as much food as possible. Today in Norway, Sweden and Swedish-speaking regions of Finland, girls dressed as Lucy carry rolls and cookies in procession as songs are sung celebrating the “Light of Christ.” St. Lucy is also celebrated in parts of Italy, Hungary and Croatia.
Click for my thoughts on Putting the X back in Xmas. (Trust me, I’m not a heretic!)
Also known as Yuletide and Alban Arthan, Yule commemorates the longest, darkest night of the year on December 21. The Winter Solstice had been associated with the birth of a “Divine King” long before the rise of Christianity. Since the Sun is considered to represent the Male Divinity in many pagan traditions, this time is celebrated as the “return of the Sun God” where He is reborn of the Goddess.
Here’s my point—and I do have one! I don’t hear about Jews boycotting stores that don’t feature Hanukkah in their advertising or witches having a spell that clerks don’t wish them a happy Yule. There are many more important issues, Christians! This—in my humble opinion—is not one of them.
So if you’re Jewish, African, Swedish, “non” or pagan, I sincerely wish you a joyous time this holiday season. And if you’d like to learn more about Jesus’ birth, click here.
© Copyright 2008 James N. Watkins
Oh, and I mustn’t offend Seinfeld fans! Festivus is the fictitious non-denominational, non-commercial alternative to Christmas created by Frank Costanza. After getting into a fight with another shopper over the last coveted toy in a store, Frank created “Festivus.” The holiday is celebrated with an undecorated eight-foot aluminum Christmas tree pole. (No branches—just the pole!) There’s also father-son wrestling matches, “The Feats of Strength,” and the “The Airing of Grievances” when each member at the gathering sits around the dinner table and recounts the reasons why other family members have been such a disappointment throughout that year.
The Twelve Sites of Christmas
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