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Why do Christians celebrate Christmas?

(103 Posts)
MrsSpoon Tue 19-Dec-06 16:42:28

Most people seem to know that Christmas has it's roots in the pagan Solstice celebration, that 25th December was not Jesus' birthday and there is no mention of Jesus celebrating his own birthday in the Bible?

Many people ask me about my beliefs (I'm a JW) but thought I would turn the tables as I am genuinely interested.

exexpat Tue 13-Nov-12 21:04:42


JBeth - no one else has posted on this thread for nearly six years. If you want to discuss Christmas, it might be a better idea to start a new thread somewhere.

JBeth Tue 13-Nov-12 20:55:10

I agree it has pagan origins but all those associations have lost their significance today. So I think it is really down to conscience how far you take Christmas now. I see it as a national holiday. I'm a passionately committed Christian but don't go to church at Christmas. Our Christmas is a quiet day with a few gifts for the children. But I have friends who are evangelical Baptists and they only go the church service with no tree or gifts etc. Others of their church, have nothing to do with Christmas at all while others have a huge vulgar affair and go to both church and a week of parties. Our heart motive is everything when it comes to doing right as a Christian.

PeachyIsNowAChristmasFruit Sat 23-Dec-06 14:19:15

Yes, its that pro / against history that amde me choose it as a topic. There's also loads of slavery in Islam (and pre-Islam) and also Judaism of course.

I agree that most religions preach love, its just peolpe don't seem to be able to focus on that aspect of the message, which is sad. Whether you believe in Christ as Messiah or not, his message was fanatastic (and radical). Its a shame more peole cannot focus on that.

nearlythree Sat 23-Dec-06 13:32:29

I shouldn't think it has even occured to the Church to invite you - they don't seem to have grasped that, whilst we are still a Christian country of sorts, we are no longer a church-going one. They probably assume most of you come from a Christian background - they haven't yet grasped that many people from such backgrounds nevertheless view the concept of visiting a church or cathedral in the same way that they do a trip to a temple or mosque.

Interesting, although about the slavery dissertation. Obviously Christianity doesn't have a great record on this - hardly surprising when you read Paul - but then it was also Christians that were the driving force behind the abolition movement.

I think most religions preach love and tolerance. It's people that don't.

PeachyIsNowAChristmasFruit Sat 23-Dec-06 11:39:53

The Hindu temple we visited (rather Ashram) was incredibly welsmoing, we all aprticipated. Some Hindus consider Christ as a manifestation of a deity though, and have imahges of him on their altars. The Mosque, Synagogue, Buddhist retreat all very welcoming, and the Jain and Sikh places of worship even fed us. JNot a question raised. We've had no inite from any Christian places of worship, Obv we've all been to them anyway so that could well bre it, that simple. Would be nice though- just doesn't feel welcoming.

Now me, i think any religion that teaches love and tolerance is OK. However, as I am doing my dissertation on Religion and Slavery i think I'll find a lot of examples where it doesn't happen

nearlythree Sat 23-Dec-06 11:23:00

Exactly, Peachy. And you don't get Christians being warned off visiting Hindu temples, do you? Which makes me think that the Church's dislike of Paganism is less about the welfare of its members and more about protecting its power.

PeachyIsNowAChristmasFruit Sat 23-Dec-06 11:05:44

I have to say my Humanism comes close to, and initially from, Chrsitianity. It also bears a resemblance to Buddhism though.

The pagan system is not dissimilar to Hinduism- they have three Gods, (Brahma,, Vishnu, Shiva) that come from ne almighty 'source' of all- Brahma. This is known as the Trimurti, not at all disimilar from the Trnity. Lao, we did a portion of the Vedantic texts the other day that contained a genesis story not at all dissimilar to the Bible.

One of the big fascinations of my course is how interlinked it all is.

(BTW, for any scholars out there- I do know the argument about Hinduism not existing, but as far as I an see in my unacademic way, Hinduism seems to be the root, shivism etc the worship systems).

nearlythree Sat 23-Dec-06 10:16:57

I also meant to say that I think that the reason Christianity has got so het up about paganism down the years is that for most of our history paganism was its main 'rival'. By turning it into something to be feared the Church could stop its followers going back to the 'old ways'.

nearlythree Sat 23-Dec-06 10:06:16

Intersting, Peachy. I talk to a lot of pagans (to use the term loosely) on here and am struck by our similarities. I've said before that pagans praying to different 'gods' or 'godesses' as part of the same deity isn't really different from how Christians pray to God as Father, Mother, Son, Light, Shepherd, Creator etc. I believe there is something in either Daniel or Samuel (my OT is very shakey) about not contacting the dead, but o/wise I don't see what could possibly be wrong with it - such as celebrating our natural world. I'd say that the opposite of Christianity would be Satanism? The worship of all that is dark? With atheism I think you have to look at the individual belief of that person - are they humanist, secularist, whatever - sometimes humanism can come very close to Christianity esp. the 'radical' type espoused by Don Cupitt and John Spong.

PeachyIsNowAChristmasFruit Fri 22-Dec-06 10:16:40

LOL at the any excuse! (we had the boys up early today to see the New Sun- I was dressed up as a Pagan for our Uni RE get together last week, ythey've been curious ever since).

Is paganism the diametric opposite of Christianity? we were discussing this (as my bestest mate on the course came as a Vicar (we also had Muslim in a Burkha, two Hindus and Mogul Princess so we were very inclusive) so we made an odd pair...) I say not, because at least they believe in deities/ a deity, I think its Atheism. he disagrees (and gets better grades than well, anyone) [

madamez Thu 21-Dec-06 23:10:05

As a thoroughgoing humanist ahtiest, I clebrate 'christmas' because it's a good excuse to have a party in the dismal depths of winter. And a midwinter festival is something rooted deep in most if not all northen hemisphere civilisations -and I have indeed drunk some red wine tonight because it is the solstice - the shortest day of the year. Any excuse...

nearlythree Thu 21-Dec-06 23:03:55

I celebrate Christmas because it's about te greatest gift of all. A tiny baby who was to grow into the most amazing man. A man who would die because he wanted to show us how to live.

I'm one of those who believes the Nativity stories to be apocryphal. Nevertheless, they have meaning for me, and this year dd1 is old enough to really enter into them. she has spent the last week watching a Nativity dvd, reading her Bible story book, and talking about the Nativity story far more than Father Christmas. This is all down to her, I lead where she follows and never force her to practice our faith. It's a cliche, but I'm really seeing the magic of it through the eyes of a child.

I'm with STG on the similar intent of paganism and Christianity. And what can possibly be wrong with having beautiful things from the astonishing God-created natural world in our homes as part of our celebrations?

(My uncle who is a JW started to lay a new patio one Christmas day until his neighbours complained about the noise from his cement mixer! )

belgianmama Thu 21-Dec-06 22:25:11

I think every culture must have it's special days which make us focus on our family and loved ones. In this country its holidays like Christmas and Easter. I think it is something every culture and religion needs as all humans are drawn to such rituals. I'm sure JW will have their own celebrations, which we do not have and they will be based on their own reasons, which we might not understand.
For me the historic reasons behind celebrating christmas are not as important as the actual meaning of it. So whether we celebrate christmas on the 25th dec or 6th jan, is not as important as what it means to us who celebrate it.
We'll never know what Jesus really would have wanted us to do, as he is not here to tell us, but I think that he would see that the celebration is a cause of much good that was inspired by his words and actions, such as all the charity donations people give at this time, families coming together,...

MrsSpoon Thu 21-Dec-06 21:56:59

PD, we've been married over 11 years now and still singing, don't know quite what that says about our marriage but it's noisy anyway.

MrsSpoon Thu 21-Dec-06 21:56:11

No, you didn't offend me at all Jbck, sometimes it does us good to think like a toddler (even although it is annoying ).

LOL PD, just the two of us, although probably some of our friends who are unfortunate enough to visit us over the next couple of weeks will get dragged onto the mic too.

Not just an x-mas tradition an any time of the year tradition in our house. I get made to play pool too but he draws the line at darts because I cause so much damage to house.

poinsettydog Thu 21-Dec-06 17:22:47

Thread title: We've Been Married 10 Years and We Don't Do Karaoke Anymore

poinsettydog Thu 21-Dec-06 17:21:28

Well now I have this image of your dh forcing you to do karaoke every night. Just the two of you, was it? Does he do this every Christmas?

Jbck Thu 21-Dec-06 15:48:09

MrsS hope I didn't offend you I have just logged on as I was away for lunch yesterday which stretched to very late & very drunk. I just found it funny that every answer you got prompted another question like a toddler would do. It is a very interesting thread & I wasn't disagreeing with you in the slightest. I am not religious at all, I enjoy the social aspect & seeing friends and family but was completely unaware of an awful lot of stuff that's come up.
Right now I'm wishing that a hangover is one tradition I didn't have to experience.

Tortington Thu 21-Dec-06 14:27:31

that doesn't constitute xmas in itself

DizzyBinterWonderland Thu 21-Dec-06 12:43:50

mrs spoon- so on christmas day you'll be eating tasty food, spending time with the family, going for an afternoon walk, watching tv, drinking wine...sounds like christmas to me

MrsSpoon Thu 21-Dec-06 10:28:21

I am hoarse and very tired this morning, don't think DH realises it's not the holidays yet.

Tortington Thu 21-Dec-06 00:28:59

kareoke is def against sensible humanistic sensibilities

why wasn't i invited?

MrsSpoon Thu 21-Dec-06 00:26:40

LOL Custy, I took a brief look at the link and homed in the nonsense.

poinsettydog, LOL you're not MD then, thought it might be MD's xmas name.

"I find this an irritating religious quibble." - No prob, as often the case on MN one person's irritating quibble is another's genuine question/interest. Baby pasta anyone?

Better go DH is badgering me to sing Karaoke.

Tortington Thu 21-Dec-06 00:17:01

sorry spoony wasn't JW bashing with the link - although the link wasn't all good stuff. it explained about the birthdays which someone was insistant on asking about continuously and got on my huge tits.

am not pissed btw. not through lack of trying.

Pruni Wed 20-Dec-06 23:44:02

Message withdrawn

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