We are now pondering Christmas. Again, we see nothing mentioned in the bible about it. The early church didn't celebrate it. As with Easter, many of the traditions surrounding Christmas have pagan roots.
We gave some thought to this last Christmas. However, we were right in the midst of the "Christmas season" so it was difficult to think clearly about it. For some reason that I don't understand, we are much more emotionally attached to Christmas than we are to Easter. Maybe it has to do with memories from childhood. I really don't know.
Since we are now far from Christmas on the calendar it seems like a good time to make some decisions about it. Stores won't begin pushing Christmas on us for at least another three months.
An ironic thing that I try to remember in all this is that, despite what some Christians like to say, Jesus really isn't the reason for either season - Christmas or Easter. The pagans have a right to claim their own holidays.
As related to Christmas, something else is a bit frustrating. Christmas has sort of monopolized the giving of gifts in our culture. When do we tend to give presents to others? We do it on their birthdays and on Christmas. Christmas is the one day of the year when it is expected that everyone gives gifts. I like the fact that in other cultures (Indian and Russian for example), gift-giving is both encouraged and expected at other times during the year.
So what are we going to do with Christmas? It is a struggle. I can sense that our family is gradually moving toward not celebrating it. At some point we will have to "make the break." One of the issues involved is that we like giving gifts (to be honest, we also like getting them). We may still do this, but separate it completely from the Christmas holiday. I'm not sure how this will work out exactly, but it seems like a good step to me. Some might say it is a bit of a cop-out, but I don't think that's actually the case.
There is an odd bit of mourning involved in this. I have to admit liking the whole Christmas thing. However, I just cannot justify celebrating it when I look in the bible.