Religion & Beliefs

Yes, We Know It’s Christmas!

I’m such an anti-conformist I don’t spend Christmas eating Chinese food and seeing a movie. I had coffee and a bagel with a friend this morning (the kosher bagel place was hopping, of course) and then finished my grading for … Read More

By / December 25, 2007

I’m such an anti-conformist I don’t spend Christmas eating Chinese food and seeing a movie. I had coffee and a bagel with a friend this morning (the kosher bagel place was hopping, of course) and then finished my grading for the semester, napped, and watched West Wing DVDs. My mother and I had a scintillating discussion about the clearance sales starting tomorrow. But the whole thing has me wondering if there’s a really appropriate way of celebrating someone else’s holidays. There are a lot of reasons I don’t buy into the whole Jesus thing, but that’s doesn’t mean I’ve got a thing against Christians, and I’ve got mixed feelings about whether I’d be comfortable at a Christmas dinner (kashrut aside), or a midnight mass. On the one hand, I think it’s nice to be with friends when they’re celebrating whatever it is they want to celebrate, and I do have the day off and there’s nothing open, really. But it feels like a fine line between attending someone else's celebration of Jesus's birth, and celebrating that birth myself. This goes back to my thing against religious voyeurism and how I don’t think prayer or religion should be spectator sports. I’m all for interfaith efforts and people working for better understanding between faith communities, but the idea of non Jews coming to, say, Kol Nidre because of the pretty music, or even just because they like me and they know it’s important to me seems really bizarre. I don’t think I would be comfortable at an Easter dinner even though it’s just a meal (though the customary ham would pose a problem), and I really can’t get into any of the Christmas hoopla, either. Does anyone know of a great way to deal with Christian holidays in a way that doesn’t feel like too much of a shout out to Jesus?