Hannah is a photographer/illustrator based in Manchester, madly excited about spending Christmas on Zanzibar this year.
Why I don’t believe in Christmas
I don’t believe in Christmas.
I don’t believe in Santa. I don’t believe in over-indulging. I don’t believe in Christmas carols. I don’t believe in the baby Jesus. I don’t believe the peace and goodwill. I don’t believe the crazed materialism sanctioned as ‘generosity’. I don’t believe the sentiment. I don’t believe the hype.
What makes this more surprising? Well, I’m a Christian. I’m a Christian and I don’t believe in Christmas. But somehow it’s reached the point where saying such things is considered a heresy, especially in church.
Let’s be clear though: Christmas is not Christian. The midwinter festival has been celebrated in Britain long before Christianity reached our shores and for all the religious overtones it has since been given, I’d argue there is still as much secular/pagan influence as ever. The only way St Augustine could see to stop people celebrating 25th December as a pagan festival when converting the country in the 6th century AD, was to call it by another name, so he held a Mass for Christ on it. And the Catholic church began using the date to celebrate Jesus’ birth.
But does that make it Christian? And as a Christian, should I feel obliged to celebrate it? I don’t think so, and I’d like to encourage other Christians that may feel unenthusiastic about it that there is another way!
Looking to the Bible, there’s largely silence around Jesus’ birth. Yes, two of the gospels describe the story (both less so than his death and resurrection) but Mark and John don’t even feel the need to mention it. We have no record of Jesus ever speaking about it. Most importantly for me, he never told us to remember his birth, like he specifically did his death and resurrection. Likewise, Paul never talked about Christmas, and in fact preached against being duty bound to celebrate any festivals of any kind (Colossians 2).
Yes, his coming to earth was an incredible, amazing event. But the trouble with remembering Jesus as a baby is that we end up relating to him as a helpless infant and forget that the baby no longer exists – he is now a grown 33yr old man, son of God, living judge and ruler and will be returning to earth.
“The Word became flesh and tabernacled among us.” (John 1:14)