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Why You Don’t Need to be Christian to Celebrate Christmas

In less than two weeks, it’ll be Christmas Day.

For many, it’s the day that Jesus Christ was born, and a hugely important religious occasion.

After all, the name Christ is right there, front and centre, in the name of the day itself.

And for my Christian friends and Christians around the world, it’s a day that defines the message of God, and all that means.

But I don’t think you need to be a Christian, or believe the story of Christ, to celebrate Christmas.

I don’t mean that as dismissive – I fundamentally believe everyone has a right to their beliefs, and religious direction.

But if you look at what many share as “the true meaning of Christmas”, it’s a wider meaning unhindered by one religion.

The Religion of Humanity

While I’m not a religious person by nature, I’m aware of the Bible and its teachings from my time at Religious Education studies in the Scottish schools I went to.

If we look back at the description of Jesus’s birth (if you take that as historical fact), then the birth was seen as something for all mankind.

I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. ~ Luke 2:10 (NIV)

The last part of that quote is why I don’t feel you need to specifically be a Christian to celebrate December 25th.

Yes, it’s the birth of someone that defines Christianity (and if I’m offering too simplistic an overview, I sincerely apologize).

Yes, it’s clear that the event isn’t for “all the people”, as evidenced by the ongoing wars and disputes over religious beliefs.

But if we step outside the religious connotation of this particular day, and look at it from a more personal yet still global perspective, maybe – just maybe – there’s hope for us all.

During the writing process for his book The Purpose of Christmas, Rick Warren surveyed some shoppers buying Christmas gifts. He asked what Christmas meant to them. Some of their answers included:

  • “I’m celebrating that I made it through another year.”
  • “I’m celebrating being home with my family.”
  • “My son is home from Iraq.”

There were many more, each a different answer, yet none referring directly to Jesus Christ. That’s not to say they weren’t relatable – but it does show a bigger picture mindset around this time of year.

The Mindset of a Non-Christian Celebration

I’ve spoken before with friends who ask me how I can celebrate Christmas yet not be a Christian. The answer is simple: love for all isn’t restricted to one religion.

Instead, love for all is a celebration of life and all that can mean. It’s a celebration of who we can be as opposed to who defines who we are based on religion.

For me personally, Christmas is about the smiles on my kids’ faces as they unwrap gifts. Yet it’s also the smile on my son’s face as he donates gifts to our local Toys For Tots to bring some joy to needy kids this Christmas.

It’s about families, neighbours, and old friends coming together in a circle of warmth and love.

It’s about giving to others less fortunate.

It’s about looking at the world and knowing where it’s going wrong, and working together to fix it, with religion and cultural differences put aside to be one world.

That’s not a Christian message. That’s a human message, and one we can all support.

Merry Christmas to you, from a non-Christian.