Christmas has always belonged to other traditions – Max Carter

I always enjoy Max Carter’s perspective, a f/Friend from North Carolina, a Conservative Quaker, and educator. His reflection this week on Christmas and Christians who celebrate the holiday is well worth the read.

Do you need to be Christian to celebrate Christmas? What is Christmas all about?

Is Christmas Christian? Good question. Not so easy to answer. One might think that a word made up of “Christ” and “mass” is obviously Christian, and, on the surface, it would be. However, it is common knowledge that the December 25 date for the observance of Christ’s birth is borrowed from pre-Christian celebrations of Saturnalia and Solstice. Common symbols of the holiday – the tree, holly, and yule log – are similarly borrowed from pagan traditioins. In a way, one might be tempted to say that if Christians have so blithely appropriated other religions’ observances, then why should they get so agitated when Christmas is taken over, too?

Christmas has always belonged to other traditions – Max Carter.

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Wess the William R. Rogers Director of Friends Center and Quaker Studies at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC. Wess has a Ph.D. in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary, served as a "released minister" at Camas Friends Church, and is the father of three. He enjoys sketchnoting, sharing conversation over coffee with friends, listening to vinyl and writing creative nonfiction.

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