Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas, YES or NO?

“But the angel said, "Don't be afraid! I have good news for you, which will make everyone happy. This very day in King David's hometown a Savior was born for you. He is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11)*

Christmas is almost here and many people around the world will be celebrating it. However, there will be many other people that will not. Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus, the Christ, God’s Son and Savior of humanity; as believed by Christianity. Do you know that some Christians do not celebrate the Christmas season? And what do some of the other religions do with the Christmas celebration?

1. Judaism
Judaism is a monotheistic religion based upon the teachings of the Hebrew Bible, the explanations of the Talmud and other texts. Judaism begins with the Covenant God made with Abraham. Judaism expects a Messiah, but they not believe Jesus is the Messiah. Christmas is not a Jewish holiday.

2. Islam
Islam is a monotheistic religion based on the teachings of the Koran and the Prophet Muhammad’s life and examples called the Sunnah. Muslims believe in the birth of Jesus, a prophet sent by God; and for this reason they are allowed to celebrate Christmas. Some Muslims do and others do not.

3. Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and a philosophy that brings together various traditions, believes and practices; mostly based upon the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, also know as Buddha. Buddhists celebrate the “spirit” of Christmas: sharing of gifts and the good virtues of humanity. Buddhists do not believe in Jesus and for this reason they do not celebrate Christmas.

4. Hinduism
Hinduism is predominantly a religion of the Indian subcontinent. Hindus follow various teachings and views: the Vedas, the Upanishads, Puranas, the Epics Mahabharat and Ramayana; the Bhagavad Gita and the treatise from the Mahabharata, spoken by Krishna. Hindus do not believe in Jesus and they do not celebrate Christmas.

5. Jehovah’s Witnesses
Jehovah’s Witnesses were founded by Charles Taze Russell and currently are directed by the Governing Body that exercises all authority in doctrinal matters. The Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Christmas is a pagan holiday and, of course, they do not celebrate it.

6. Some Christians
You would assume that all Christians celebrate Christmas. All Christians believe in the birth of Jesus but not all join in the Christmas celebrations. Some Christians do not celebrate Christmas because it is commercialized, materialistic, the Bible does not command it, it is forbidden, the traditions are too pagan, they are unsure of the actual date of the birth of Jesus and, because Christmas is a word that comes from the Roman Catholic Church – Christ Mass.

Christmas is approaching and it is important to understand what people choose to celebrate. As a Catholic Christian living in the USA, I value freedom; the freedom of choice God has given every human: the freedom to believe in God or, not to believe in God, the freedom to worship any religion of choice, the same freedom given to us in this nation. Whether you celebrate Christmas or you do not; let our freedom be expressed in a spirit of love and acceptance of others. I will be celebrating Christmas with all the traditional decorations and, I wish everyone that believes in the birth of Jesus, God’s gift of salvation for everyone a very Merry Christmas!

*Contemporary English Version

1 comment:

  1. Very good info. However, I quietly observe that everytime you teach something always have to highlight a 'down' side (according to you) about the Catholic church. That's why Karl Barth will always be the best among you. What a great mind that did not get mixed up with little diminishing comments of the oppositors that would rather empoverish if you let them on the way of your teachings!
    All the best!