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A Subversive Christmas Redux

with Rev. Clay Nelson

A Subversive Christmas Redux
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Clay Nelson © 15 December 2019

People sometimes wonder why Unitarians celebrate Christmas. Even some Unitarians do. It’s quite understandable considering our scepticism about Virgin births, moving stars, the birth of Saviours of the World, divine babies in human form, and whether or not any of it is history. I, however, wonder why Christians celebrate Christmas (and of course they didn’t for the first few centuries after the birth of Jesus). Christians have struggled with Christmas ever since the Emperor Constantine declared December 25th to be the day of Jesus’ birth. Well, somebody had to decide. The Gospels certainly didn’t tell us when the blessed event happened. Since then how to celebrate it or whether or not to celebrate it at all has consumed untold hours of theological debate.

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Christmas: A Subversive Holiday


Christmas: A Subversive Holiday

No separate audio this week due to poor quality audio recording, watching the video with subtitles – hit the Subtitles/Closed Captions’ button once you’ve started the video – should improve intelligibility.

Read below or download the PDF.

Clay Nelson © 16 December 2018

I find it ironic that many Unitarians struggle with celebrating Christmas. They love to regale us with tales about how the church took a lot of pagan traditions and repurposed them. Which is true. They scoff at Virgin births, moving stars, the birth of Saviours of the World, divine babies in human form, and challenge any of it as history. And of course, they are right — none of this historically happened. They find Christmas fit only for children and gag at how it has been sentimentalised. And once again they are right. The delight and wonder in a child’s eyes on Christmas morning is worth all the hassle of making it magical for them. Only through their eyes is the wonder available to us who are world-worn and weary. And yes, the sentimentalising of Christmas makes it easy to miss its offer of another way of seeing life and of living our lives.

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