"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Commenter Luke on Christmas

I thought this bit from commenter Luke was perceptive:

It is not just the faith of a lot of the American people that makes Christmas an important national holiday: it is that Christianity was the faith that enabled our cultural ancestors -- at a terrible price -- to build and bequeath to us the civilization we live in, like none other ever seen. This History -- these Facts -- are what justify the celebration, quite apart from the present state of the faith. We have an obligation to remember, just as we have an obligation to remember Lincoln, and the Civil War, and the Battle Hymn of the Republic. As a culture and a civilization, they are all parts of who we are and where we came from. If nothing else we owe it to our children to celebrate and remember these things, lest they take it all for granted -- the and let it slip away.

2 comments:

Tlaloc said...

The problem of course that Luke doesn't mention, or possibly doesn't realize, is that while Lincoln can be thought of as belonging to all Americans (yes even the south), Christianity is diametrically opposed to every other faith. Its hard for everyone to cherish a faith that says a sizable portion of the population are destined to be tortured for ever in hell for thinking the wrong thing.

Beyond that the comment isn't even accurate. Consider this:

"Christmas had a late arrival in America, and was even faced with some hostilities. In the years 1659 to 1681 the celebration of Christmas was actually outlawed in Boston. The Christmas spirit was fined. As an immediate result of the American Revolution, English customs fell out of favour and celebrating Christmas was among them. Though some places like the Jamestown settlement did celebrate Christmas with all the related gaiety, they remained an exception.

But with the beginning of the nineteenth century, the need for a festival to have some commemorative time, made the Americans embrace Christmas as a perfect family holiday. Christmas was declared as a national holiday for celebration on June 26, 1870. And that was not all; Americans even re-invented the Christmas celebration and transformed it from a mere carnival into a family-oriented day of feast, fun and frolic."
from
http://www.christmascarnivals.com/aboutchristmas/

Christmas is not therefore a tradition from our founding fathers, but rather the denial of christmas is.

S. T. Karnick said...

It is important to note that the early American opposition to Christmas came not from secular deists or unbelievers but from Purtitans. The ultimate embrace of Christmas by the evangelical descendants of the Puritans is what made it possible for the nation as a whole to agree on it as a common holiday.—STK