Author Drew Cordell ponders what it might mean for those who believe “Jesus is the reason for the season” to abandon 25th December all together
It’s that time of year once more. The moment to stock our fridges and pantries with the finest treats that satiate our gastronomic cravings within our inflationary constraints. Let’s kick off with the holy trinity: mulled wine, mince pies and pigs in blankets. Moving on, we delve into the essentials of the main feast: Turkey or lamb, accompanied by roast potatoes, after which opinions diverge. Apologies to the Yorkshire folk, but Yorkshire puddings haven’t yet secured unanimous global recognition as Christmas essentials…
This is Christmas – neither more nor less. Fill your schedule with as many social gatherings as possible. It’s truly a good old-fashioned “knees-up”, as my English brothers and sisters would say. Personally, my Christmas season commences once I’ve watched Die Hard 2. Everyone has their own trigger for the start of the Christmas season, whether it’s a Marks & Spencer commercial or a viewing of Love Actually.
Christmas without Christ
Culturally speaking, Christmas isn’t about Jesus anymore. Even as a Christian, my thoughts about Christmas don’t primarily revolve around an inner spiritual moment of profound reflection and contemplation. To be candid, I lean more towards the perspective of my atheist compatriot, Tim Minchin, relishing those moments of sipping white wine under the sun with our respective families and friends.
In all likelihood, I’m not alone in this sentiment. Those of us who are Christian strive to live as ardent followers of Jesus throughout the year. Celebrating Christmas as a specific Christian event almost feels peculiar. Jesus permeates and influences every aspect of our lives. Condensing a celebration into Jesus’ presumed birthday on December 25th seems somewhat strange and limiting compared to the broader significance of his life, which has profoundly shaped the Western world. Maybe we should take a cue from Frozen and simply “let it go”?
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There are more conservative Christians who might argue that relinquishing the traditional Christmas celebration would imply surrendering in the face of the culture wars. I’m not suggesting that for a moment.
Consider this: What would it look like if we, as Christians, reassigned Christmas to a different date? What would an alternative celebration look like? Would it pique others’ curiosity and interest, diverging from the presumptions and expectations currently associated with Christmas? Among all the ideas I’ve entertained, I don’t believe this is the most outlandish.
Sometimes in life, it’s necessary to change the script. At heart, I may be a conservative, but conservatives only “conserve” when something worth conserving remains. Christmas is no longer about Christmas. Perhaps it’s time for honesty, a genuine celebration of Christ’s arrival, and fewer distractions revolving around our stomachs during this period.
Drew Cordell is a business consultant who has worked alongside some of the world’s most successful businesses and their leaders in an extensive corporate career in both London and Australia. His soon-to-be-released book Honest Christianity: Why People Choose to Believe will be available on Amazon and in all good bookstores.