Is Jesus really the reason for the Christmas season?

Is spending more time shopping than at church a bad thing?

FLORIDA, December 21, 2012 — The Christmas season is upon us once again.

As with every year, some choose to believe that there is imminent organized resistance to the holiday. Considering that an overwhelming majority of Americans claim to be Christian, I find such a notion to be 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 catalogues, 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.

No, most energy directed toward the holiday, at least in my observation, 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 to do this at all, seems to be more of a formality than anything else.

I don’t find anything wrong with this scenario. Then again, I don’t celebrate Christmas from a religious standpoint, so this is highly relevant to my opinion. Nonetheless, Christian theology need not be held as the standard for either accepting or rejecting the holiday.

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, dare I say, championed. If only we didn’t 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 ado, Merry Christmas.  

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Joseph Cotto

Joseph F. Cotto is a social journalist by trade and student of history by lifestyle choice. He hails from central Florida, writing about political, economic, and social issues of the day. In the past, he was a contributor to Blogcritics Magazine, among other publications. He is currently at work on a book about American society.

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