Christmas and the Magic of Belief

It may be that my heart is just two sizes too small, but it seems there are a lot of reasons to hate Christmas. Whether it’s the pressure of making the holiday perfect for the family, being around difficult family members, the constant barrage of advertisements and consumer culture, or your shoes being too tight, Christmas as an adult can be a long row to hoe.

Part of me still loves Christmas. I enjoy getting time off from school and work, and I, to an extent, appreciate the opportunity to be around family. Although my beliefs about the religious importance of the holiday have changed a lot in the past few years, I still appreciate the excuse it gives me to take a few days off to go through the year’s accomplishments, look back on all that I’m grateful for, and spoil my kids with presents.

However, I very often can’t help but feel disillusioned–especially with my already poor psyche thanks to the cold weather and low Vitamin D intake. Christmas has become a tradition that many Americans cling very dearly to. Still, I fear that too much of the holiday revolves around a toxic level of consumerism and desire. However, if you start to feel a bit disillusioned, fear not; you can always take heart in the message of the Grinch that Christmas “means a little bit more.” 

What does it mean specifically? 

Go fuck yourself.

This use of religiously-themed language to discuss Christmas even infiltrates media outside the traditional Christian narrative. Take, for example, in the 2003 film ‘Elf’ when Santa talks with a boy in the movie about how people’s Christmas spirit powers his sleigh. When the young boy aptly suggests that they show everyone that Santa exists, he objects that it wouldn’t be the same if everyone had evidence.

Apparently, belief with evidence doesn’t count.

I’m legitimately confused about how much this culture values belief as a virtue. You can find signs with the singular word ‘believe’ alongside ‘Live, Laugh, Love’ signs at craft stores. There isn’t even an inherent belief these signs promote; they just want you to believe for belief’s sake.

I don’t want to make it seem like I’m purely cynical. I myself have beliefs that I can’t scientifically prove. However, I don’t feel that the language of faith has served American society very well. Instead, you have unskeptical, unquestioning people who feel threatened by anything that even hints at going against their beliefs.

Can’t even say “Happy Holidays” these days… (see, I got back to Christmas eventually!)

Belief can be a powerful motivator, but it’s a poor partner for rationality. I don’t think we need to worry about kids believing in Santa, and I don’t mind people’s religious beliefs. However, I feel that one should have a reason for their beliefs at a certain age. 

Belief isn’t inherently a vice, but it’s not a virtue either.

3 thoughts on “Christmas and the Magic of Belief

    1. That’s a great point. It seems that belief without evidence is a lot more important in New Testament Theology… 😅


      1. Heh, yep. In the OT, ol’ Yahweh was doing tricks for Gideon, having lunch with Moses, et al, and even in the NT, we have direct evidence given to Thomas. But alas, the poor old fellow just can’t get it up for showing evidence now.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s