Blog Post 111 – The Meaning of Christmas?

Hi everyone,

This is just a short post today looking at a recent discussion from the BBC:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/news/2010/12/101223_christmas_meaning_nh_sl.shtml

In this broadcast (which I heard via Oraia Sphinx, many thanks to her), the origins and meaning of Christmas are discussed by Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association (aka. The AFA—an evangelical group which leads many initiatives to instill religiously conservative values into Americans) and Professor of Pagan History/well-respected author Ronald Hutton of Bristol University.  While it’s not really fair to pit a scholar and historian against a spokesperson, the overall conversation is interesting, if a bit charged at times.  I’m not posting it to stir up controversy (though I suspect it may do so), but more because I thought it was interesting, and because I always enjoy hearing Hutton speak on history and theology.  Also, Fischer makes an interesting point for those of us who are American witches—can we celebrate “Christmas” without making it (at least primarily) a religious observance?  And do we need to?  Is our country so deeply tied to its Christian roots that we acknowledge Christianity by acts as mundane as writing a check with an “A.D.” date on it?  Or, as Hutton proposes, is America a collection of pocket communities each defining their own values based on their cultural, ethnic, and social histories?  Food for thought.

There’s a rather neat musical montage in the piece, too, which outlines the different angles from which Christmas (and the winter holidays in general) can be viewed.  Religious, Hopeful, Commercial, or Sad, there does seem to be a universal draw to set aside this time of year, whatever feelings it inspires.

So what about you?  Do you have a “reason for the season” that you’d like to share?  What does Christmas mean to you?

Thanks for reading!

-Cory