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Whether religious or not, Christmas unifies


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By Emma Cummins

Editorial Page Editor

 

You get in the car, shut your door, turn on the radio and the first thing you hear on the radio is “Silent Night.” You continue driving down the street and see the rows of houses decorated in Christmas lights, wishing everyone a “Merry Christmas!”

 

You may either be filled with happiness from this revel of Christmas decorations, or you may groan. But, regardless of whether or not you consider yourself to be a Grinch or a Cindy Lou, there is one undeniable fact about the holiday of Christmas: regardless of its origins it has unified countries and communities.

 

Christmas is a unique holiday. Although it has always been a Christian holiday, meant to celebrate the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, many families who are not Christian have made the holiday their own. While many may call this the secularization of Christmas, I, being Catholic, have no problem with it. Christmas is meant to be a holiday where Christians extend the olive branch and share good tidings with everyone.

 

Giving presents, decorating your house, listening to Christmas carols and having Christmas parties are all parts of the holiday. These qualities of Christmas are universal.

 

At such a time in our world, when terrorist attacks and shootings have made the world seem less cozy and welcoming, Christmas is vital to keeping communities feeling safe. Regardless of whether or not a family is religious, the abstract concept of Christmas as being a unifying time, transcends the details.

 

This is by no means meant to trivialize the religious origins of the holiday. My family does devote a large portion of the holiday to celebrating the birth of Jesus: we go to mass, pray rosaries, set up the nativity scene and attend Christmas parties where we pray and celebrate the birth of Jesus.

 

Christmas is a Christian holiday and that should not be forgotten. But, it should also not be a source of exclusion. This means that saying “Merry Christmas” or having the city wish a “Merry Christmas” does not mean that they are supporting a religious holiday. Rather, they are supporting a holiday that has made its way to everyone, regardless of their religion.
Christmas is a unifying holiday and its unique quality is that its religious origins have not kept it from becoming a worldwide holiday. So this Christmas, instead of choosing whether or not Christmas should be secularized, commercialized or kept specific to Christians, enjoy the fire and remember that Christmas can be for everyone.

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Whether religious or not, Christmas unifies