But then I ponder, Isn’t tradition what Christmas is all about?
Consider: The biblical story provides a Christmas theme for many who no longer consider themselves religious. And traditional Christian carols are mixed with secular ones on radio stations that would never otherwise play religious-themed music. At Christmas, apparently, they can—because that’s traditional.
Consider: The ancient traditions (Good King Wenceslas, Santa Clause, for example) continue to play a big role in many a Christmas festivity.
Consider: Many people find it acceptable, even important, to go to church at Christmas (and Easter) even if they never otherwise do so. A remnant of our past? A tradition?
Consider: Many of us practice the very same rituals, whatever they be in our household, every year. A re-enactment of the annual script far outweighs adapting to a changing world. “Keeping up with the times” is for the rest of the year, not for Christmas.
So, doesn’t Christmas ever get old? Answer: Do traditions get old? They are by definition, old. So, as long as we frame our Christmas celebrations with our traditions, we will celebrate an “old” that is re-established every year. The Christmas event may always be an island in the middle of the river of life that carries us the rest of the year. The river flows; the island remains, except in geologic time, stationary (and our celebrations may evolve at about that pace).
And maybe that’s how it should be. And maybe that is why Christmas becomes so big for many of us every year. It roots us into our past and gives some sense of stability.
And because I like it that way, that’s why I’m comfortable, in this ever-changing world, to still call it Christmas, not the “winter holiday,” or whatever.
But, for all those who don’t share my view, I wish you the best winter holiday ever:
Season’s greetings! Happy Hanukkah! Happy Diwali! or whatever makes you feel warm and cozy, traditional and stationary, this season.