Joseph Cotto, 12/8/2015 [Archive]

Christmas No Longer a Religious Holiday

By Joseph Cotto

The Christmas season is upon us once again.

As with every year, some choose to believe there is imminent organized resistance to the holiday. Considering that an overwhelming majority of America is Christian, such a notion seems less than believable.

Of course, there are the civil rights groups who file lawsuits against those promoting their religious beliefs at taxpayer expense.

What can honestly be said about this? The separation of church and state is what it is.

It would appear that many think Christmas is under social scrutiny for reasons which require little to no concrete evidence. Instead, it seems as if their fears are rooted in floating abstracts derived from the reality that our society is secularizing.

This begs a very important question. When in the last century has Christmas, from a macro-cultural standpoint, been a predominately religious matter?

Ever since the rise of mass consumerism — retail catalogs, department stores, and the like — December 25 and the weeks before it have increasingly been the domain of not church, but capitalism. Of course, the faithful do continue to gather for service or mass, but this is not what Christmas in America typically revolves around.

Most energy directed toward the holiday pertains to shopping for gifts, shopping for food, shopping for decorations, or finding good sales so one can go shopping for all of these.

Attending church on Christmas Eve or Day, if one bothers at all, appears more of a formality than anything else. In our era, it may not even fall on the agenda. That is compounded by, despite an overall trend against theism, non-Christian religions gaining a foothold across our nation. Chalk this up to mass immigration rather than native-born folks regaining faith.

There's nothing wrong with admitting that Jesus is far from the reason for the season. Those of us who do not celebrate Christmas in a religious sense are afforded the opportunity to appreciate yuletide merriment. Commercialization making Christian theology no longer the standard for accepting or rejecting the holiday is, in many respects, a saving grace.

We are fortunate that our country's Christmas culture has rich traditions which transcend religious doctrine. Christmas, generally speaking, has become a celebration of life's finer things. From throwing office parties to decorating one's home to finding an ideal gift for that special someone, it has come to represent, in my opinion, our highest aspirations.

Regardless of whatever religious beliefs we might hold, it is difficult to argue with something so noble.

During the years ahead, the cultural Christmas spirit deserves to be preserved and championed. If only we did not need a specific holiday to live life to its fullest, though. Then again, singling out one day, and spending well over a month preparing for it, allows us to value life's lessons, and not to mention our loved ones, even more.

So, without further adieu, Merry Christmas.

——-

Copyright 2015 Joseph Cotto, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Joseph Cotto is a historical and social journalist, and writes about politics, economics and social issues. Email him at joseph.f.cotto@gmail.com.



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