To everyone who celebrated Christmas today, i hope you had a wonderful time. I hope this holiday was a time of gathering and sharing, of heightened gratitude to God and generosity to others. Hopefully, it was a period of reflection too.
The season of jolliness is also a time of soaring depression rates, debt and substance abuse. Somewhere in the midst of excessive spending and consumption, there lies a spiritual purpose to this holiday (read: “holy day”, as it was originally spelt), but in most of the world, the spiritual has taken a backseat – if it gets a lift at all.
As a Muslim, i know clearly why i do not celebrate Christmas. I love and respect Jesus Christ, peace be upon him, and would be happy to acknowledge his birthday if it really was on December 25 (which is uncertain). It’s the rest of Christmas that make me uncomfortable. Here are my top reasons why.
1. Pagan rituals and Coca-Cola
Let me ask you a question: when you think of Christmas, what colours come to mind?
Green and red, by any chance?
Green comes from the evergreen trees German Christians started decorating at this time of year in the 16th century. That’s cool – i like trees, too. What i don’t like so much are the Pagan roots of this tradition. Any custom that even resembles the worship of anything/one other than God is absolutely antithetical to Islam – so as Muslims, we must be extremely careful to avoid such things.
Christmas leads us to Santa (see below) and his jolly red suit . . . which was green, until Coca-Cola created this very effective advertisement campaign in the 30’s.
I am not a Christian, so it confuses me why there isn’t a mass of Christians campaigning against such open commercialisation of their religious celebration. Of course if i was Christian, i would be more concerned with the below . . .
2. Santa Christ – i mean, Jesus Claus. I mean –
Why is an over-weight man that slides down people’s chimneys and subliminally advertises certain soft drinks more celebrated at this time of year than the day’s entire point – Jesus (peace be upon him)?
The son of Mary (peace be upon them both) preached selflessness and gratitude. Santa Claus, on the other hand , preaches consumerism and wish lists for more stuff. Jesus (peace be upon him) preached truth and encouraged people to be honest. Santa Claus is a story told to children to make them comply with gift-givers’ wishes leading up to the big day.
Let’s face it, to the masses that celebrate Christ’s mass for reasons other than the spiritual, today was nothing more than a time for consuming. Advertising campaign always have mascots, so i guess if that’s all Christmas has become, another way to sell things people don’t need, than it too needs a mascot.
Now that i think about it, i would rather see that mascot be some old guy in a red coat rather than a figure deserving much greater esteem – Jesus, peace be upon him.
3. Greed (over-eating, over-spending, over-drinking). Enough said.
When i reflect on the preaching of Jesus (peace be upon him) in both the Quran and the Bible, his message is clear to me.
2. Instead of constantly wanting more, be grateful for what your Creator has already given to you.
May Allah protect us committing shirk and may He forgive us for what we do not know.
May Allah guide us to practices that please Him and remove us from those that displease Him.
May Allah guide us all – Muslim and non-Muslim – ever closer to the Truth. And may He send His peace upon all His righteous slaves.
[Mention] when Allah said, “O Jesus, indeed I will take you and raise you to Myself and purify you from those who disbelieve and make those who follow you [in submission to Allah alone] superior to those who disbelieve until the Day of Resurrection. Then to Me is your return, and I will judge between you concerning that in which you used to differ.
– Translation of the Quran, 3:55