I grew up in a church that has many extremes about iconography - such as believing it's sacreligious to wear the cross as jewelry, or to have an image of Jesus in the sanctuary - but also in this church Christmas was not celebrated as a religious holiday. Many of the extremes my church practiced I found silly or counterintuitive, but I liked that they didn't try to claim Christmas. For one, I understand that Christmas as a celebration of the birth of Christ replaced the pagan celebration of the winter solstice. I'd rather just celebrate the solstice! And two, I never enjoyed judging others for the way they celebrated Christmas, so i'm glad my church didn't encourage me to do this. My family celebrated it as a family holiday - a time to be together and sing, eat, share. Still, there are people in my family that embrace Christmas as a consumer holiday. So every year there is a little guilt felt when I'm given "stuff" and don't have anything to give in return. Or do I? It brings up the question of what giving is. Giving to charity is certainly one selfless way to give, but there are so many others- we just need to recognize those ways as gifts.
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