Lee Harris, a very intelligent man who writes thoughtful books and contributes insightful articles regularly to TCS Daily, recently wrote a very interesting and well-informed article about Christmas for that online publication. Harris is clearly sympathetic to the celebration of Christmas while being fully cognizant of the pagan foundations of both the date chosen and the various traditions associated with the day.
In contrast to many complainers on both sides of the arguments over whether public celebrations of this great holy day should be encouraged or even allowed, Harris points out that these varied foundations are not faults but strengths. He correctly characterizes Christmas as "a great multicultural festival" good not only for Christians but indeed for everyone.
His conclusion is particularly interesting and sensible: not only should Christians embrace the celebration of Christmas wholeheartedly, so should non-Christians as well.
You must read the entire article for Lee’s full argument. Here’s his conclusion, which is both right and superbly expressed:
One can only admire the humanity and wisdom of those Christians, like St. Boniface, who chose to Christianize the pagan festival, instead of outlawing it, just as one can only deplore the fanaticism of those, like the Puritans, who refused to celebrate Christmas simply because it was once honored as the re-birthday of the Sun God. But what can be said about those fanatics who today wish to apologize and minimize Christmas out of a misplaced sense of multicultural sensitivity, considering that Christmas is itself a great multicultural festival, weaving together what is most precious and valuable from a host of different traditions—Hebrew, Greek, Persian, Roman, Celtic, Germanic?
This Christmas season in Great Britain a trio of religious leaders made a joint statement in which they begged the British to stop worrying about the alleged offense caused by their traditional celebration of Christmas. One of the religious leaders was a Sikh, one a Hindu, one a Muslim—all had come to England from the East, and each had come to accept Christmas as their holiday, too. And why shouldn’t it be?
Once again three wise men from the East have shown us the importance of Christmas. They have reminded us that we are being arrogant to think that it is "our" holiday alone.
Lee has it just right, and it is devoutly to be hoped that those who oppose the celebration of Christmas will back off and let people have their fun.
As Lee points out, December is a sad month in most places in the Northern Hemisphere, as winter is just beginning and long months of short days and extended nights are ahead. If people want to celebrate life through a Christian festival and wish others well, those who don’t share their beliefs should stop being puritans about it and let their neighbors enjoy themselves.
That, after all, is the truly liberal point of view and what any really generous person would do.
As the song goes, "We Need a Little Christmas." Why not let us have our fun?
The world just might get a little brighter for all of us.