I almost never talk about religion on Square Pennies, but I’m making an exception because of the pope’s recent statement on Christmas.
Pope Francis has called having Christmas this year a charade.
He says there are too many wars in the world now to be celebrating Christmas. I beg to differ. Here are my reasons.
1. We didn’t give up Christmas during World War I or World War II. Even the soldiers on the battlefields had a truce for Christmas. The people at home celebrated Christmas as best they could even if they had loved ones in harm’s way.
2. We didn’t give up Christmas during the Great Depression, though many people spent almost nothing on gifts because they just didn’t have money to spare.
3. There have always been people suffering in the world. Many Christians and non-Christians give to charities to try to alleviate that suffering throughout the year.
4. Why punish the children?
5. You can pray for peace. Surely the pope believes in the power of prayer.
6. It seems heartless. With many families in the US trying to cope with their own stresses and hardships, why ask them to give up their Christmas traditions that give solace, hope, and joy to their year? Most people do not live the life of the glitterati attending decadent parties in clothes that cost thousands of dollars. Many go to the children’s pageant and Christmas services at church. What’s wrong with that?
7. The pope seems to think too much money is spent on Christmas. He is probably right, but many Christmas traditions don’t cost much money. Singing Christmas songs brings cheer to many. Why make winter a season with no joy?
8. Why would the pope want to de-emphasize the central theme of Christianity?Christmas may be over-commercialized, but at it’s heart it is a celebration of salvation.
9. Don’t tell us to abandon Christmas over things we can’t control. If Pope Francis wants to change geo-politics to stop wars, he should talk to world leaders who have the power to do something about that. Perhaps he can influence them for good.
10. Christians often renew their faith during Christmas time. We start anew to try to share love and kindness with family, friends, and, yes, with strangers. When we reach out to others that are in need in our communities we are putting Christ’s lessons into practice. We often give money to help people in other countries also.
Let’s keep the warmth of caring an essential part of Christmas. As others have said before, we hold Christmas in our hearts.