Hello everyone, and welcome to 111 Archer Avenue. What started as a film review blog has become my online judgment forum. I will review the occasional movie or DVD, post an interesting trailer, critique a newly-read book, talk about sports, and share my thoughts and opinions on random issues. You can also follow me on Twitter (@OlieCoen) or check out my work on DVDTalk.com. Thank you and enjoy!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Thought - The Reason for the Season

If I read one more Facebook post reminding me that "Jesus is the reason for the season!" that vein in my forehead might finally pop.  In all ways and explanations, Christianity, a Jonny-come-lately religion anyway, has no claims to this winter holiday.

Without trying to sound elitist, I would urge you to read something, anything, on the topic and notice a recurring theme; that almost every religion, culture, and people performed some sort of celebration during the winter solstice.  The Pagans celebrated the physical season, the Syrians celebrated the birth of the sun god Adonis, and even the Jews claim this time as the birth of Yahweh, all before the supposed birth of Jesus, the forming of a religion around him, or the development of a holiday called Christmas.

Of course, it was very intelligent of early Christians to place their holiday on this date.  With everyone already celebrating something, it makes sense to claim this time as YOUR savior's birth, put YOUR stamp on it, and try to get some converts, or at the very least get people thinking about Christmas while they're celebrating the birth of Sol.

We see this in the way that the majority of Americans celebrate Christmas, even devout Christians; it is a combination of ancient traditions (pine trees, wreaths, Santa) with religious practice (Nativity scenes, baby Jesus).  There is nothing wrong with this, as it is fundamental to our nation; the merging of many cultures and many traditions into a new society that will forever be influenced by both new religions and ancient traditions.

Believe in whatever fairy tales you want.  Believe in whatever God/gods/spirits you wish.  But don't attempt to tell me that "Jesus is the reason for the season!".  He isn't.  He may be the reason someone made up the term 'Christmas' and then planned his birthday party on the same day that everyone else was celebrating THEIR savior's birth, and that may have resulted in a veritable smorgasbord of American religious and traditional practices that all melted together.  But don't forget that the vast majority of the peoples of Earth have been celebrating a holiday of their own during this time of the year that has nothing to do with your new-found religion.

I say "Merry Christmas!" even though I'm not a Christian.  I think this is ok, if for no other reason than that Christmas is a melting pot of culture as much as America itself is, and I don't see that as a bad thing.


  1. While factually you are correct, I don't have the same focus on one particular perspective of what Christmas is. For those making this statement, it is the reason for the season at this time of their life. Ask others and they will talk about Chanukah being the appropriate focus as still others will see the meaning of Christmas in the gathering of family, friends, etc. (as portrayed in many seasonal songs), and so on. On the 4th of July, I used to feel a similar way hearing God Bless America, as if God sees Americans as a superior group. Now I have mellowed. If they have pride in the country and want to express it that way, it does me no harm. If this time of year gives a getter sense of comfort and peace, and people want to share why that is, it does no harm. Whether they mean it personally or not that I need to feel the same way as them or else I am some how inferior, as long as I do not take it that way, I can just feel glad that they are happy without feeling they are judging me.

    1. We talked about this already, but I didn't want to leave your comment hangin'. We're saying similar things from different viewpoints; that people should understand that opinions and stances are relative, both to the speaker and to the listener.