PietasWith all of the screaming, screeching, and wailing about Christmas somehow being outlawed (it isn’t, of course), as well as how it’s somehow necessary for Christians to make a point of openly celebrating Christmas — to the extent that they demand everyone they ever come across wishes them a “merry Christmas” and puts up Christmas trees to entertain them — I can’t help but wonder how truly “Christian” all of this is.

You see, Jesus himself condemned open displays of piety and righteousness. This is a reality of their own religion of which most Christians are inexplicably and inexcusably unaware. The words of Jesus as recorded in the gospels are clear on this matter. Perhaps the best such passage is found in the gospel according to Matthew (emphasis mine):

Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6:1-6)

I just don’t see how any of the sanctimonious caterwauling about Christmas can possibly be interpreted as being in line with this philosophy. I assume that Christians can easily cook up a rationale for how their very-public worship of Christmas — including demands that everyone else worship it right alongside them, regardless of their own religion — somehow does mesh with this. They generally are quite willing to rationalize away pretty much the entireties of the Sermon on the Mount and the Sermon on the Plain (the above-quoted passage is part of the former). But these are arguably the very “core” of what it means to be Christian … which means it’s not appropriate for them to cook up reasons to ignore them.

Someday Christians will mature to the point where they can be comfortable with their own religion, all by themselves, without imposing it simultaneously on everyone else … but that day, sadly, is not going to come soon.

Photo credit: scazon.

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