Christmas remix

Not surprisingly, there is a great outcry ever year about how Christmas has lost its religiousness. "Let's get back to the true meaning of Christmas," shout fundamentalists. "Stop the commercialism" they rave. But they're wrong, on two counts.

First, the true meaning of Christmas has nothing to do with the birth of Jesus. The celebration as we know it today stems from various traditions in Europe, but primarily from Saturalia in Rome. The History Channel adds:

Also around the time of the winter solstice, Romans observed Juvenalia, a feast honoring the children of Rome. In addition, members of the upper classes often celebrated the birthday of Mithra, the god of the unconquerable sun, on December 25. It was believed that Mithra, an infant god, was born of a rock. For some Romans, Mithra's birthday was the most sacred day of the year.

It was only after Christians obtained power in the Roman empire that Pope Julius 1 declared that December 25 was actually Jesus's birth. This date is as arbitrary as they come. Mostly, Pope Julius hoped that by placing Jesus's birth date on the same day as an already popular celebration, it would be easily and quickly adopted. He was right.

But there were consequences for doing this. Namely, many of the pagan traditions for celebrating the winter solstice continued. These included bringing evergreen trees (or their clippings) in from outside and decorating them, yule logs, mistletoe, large meals and lots of gift giving.

Indeed, today, even our government considers it a secular holiday, hence the appropriateness of declaring it a national holiday. (According to our constitution, the government cannot establish a church).

So where does this leave the Christians' claims that "We've lost the spirit of Christmas"? Well, the spirit originally was with celebrating the end of the waning daylight hours. So that's really why we get together and celebrate. But there is more to Christmas than just that. If we want to redefine what Christmas is for or how to celebrate it, then we need an objective standard for doing so. The Christians hopes that others will do only what they want, is clearly not objective.

As Leonard Peikoff so eloquently stated:
It is time to take the Christ out of Christmas, and turn the holiday into a guiltlessly egoistic, pro-reason, this-worldly, commercial celebration.
We should be celebrating the good in this world: capitalism, reason, productivity, etc. Many people are doing this, at least implicitly, but the celebration should be explicit, unapologetically. The commercialization of Christmas is a great thing. We need more commercialization!! Maybe we should change the name of Christmas, to Capitalmas... or perhaps Salemas.

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