Christmas time is here and that has its ups and downs. There is the mad race to finish off the year with the work-related and present-shopping stress. There is also all of the corporate and commercial pressure to make sure that we meet those aforementioned obligations. And for those of us who live abroad or far from our families, we can’t forget the Holiday season highway and airways traffic. It’s almost enough to forgoe of Christmas altogether.
It is almost a cliché that the Christmas spirit of the young saviour’s birth has been prostituted to corporations. For me, though, it is not the saviour’s birth that makes this time of year special. The more and more I think about it, Christianity as a religion has had little intrinsic value to offer. Christianity’s claims to be centered on forgiveness and sacrifice, on a new altruistic concept of love, and on a superior morality are simply unsustainable in history, scripture, philosophy or even in comparative religious studies. In that vain, I dedicate this Recycled Post of the Week to one I wrote in September 2006, entitled “Walter Kaufmann: The Faith of the Heretic“, about an essay of the same name written by Kaufmann precisely on how he rejected Christianity as a child. It is definitely worth a read.
Having said this, I do believe there is something very special about the way children feel during the season that justifies it all, and that is the special something that keeps getting me excited about Christmas every year. It’s not about presents, it’s about “having yourself a merry little Christmas” where those dear to us are near to us and our troubles seem far away. It is about everything that is special about being a child, a parent, or a grandparent. For the moment, I am still into being a child and a grandchild. It really is Christianity’s saving grace.