Christmas and the Religious Narcissist

Religious Narcia rears its ugly sweater at Christmas
because nothing excites a narcissist more than
telling strangers how to live their lives.

tree, evergreen, christmas, holidays, narcissist, religious abuse,
Photo by Inna Lesyk on Unsplash

It’s the time of year when religious abuse runs on a high. There are all brands of crazy that go on when the days are darker and people are desperate to make it to the end of the year with some sort of satisfaction. Since there will be people knocking on doors this week to warn their neighbors of impending doom for celebrating a pagan holiday, I think it’s a good time to say something. Most of those who present arguments against celebrating Christmas are narcissistic because nice people don’t tell others what to celebrate or who to worship.

For so much of my childhood, I was warned about Christmas–the materialism, the paganism, and the spiritualism. What? Spiritualism? Yeah, the pagan concepts can also be Wiccan and thus the spiritualism connection. I knew a man who went to our church when I was a kid who talked to grownups for hours about the evils of Christmas. It seems there was nothing worse to do in December than to bring a tree into the house and put some lights on it because you’d be inviting the devil in. According to him, it would be bad to have an evergreen for a houseplant.

Other people say Jesus’s birth isn’t important because only his death really matters. This logic is puzzling because Jesus would never have died if he hadn’t been born. Everything thing we value has to start somewhere. Most of us who celebrate Christmas, give little thought to where our traditions come from with the exception of the conspiracy theorists. As a matter of fact, if we say we love Jesus, don’t we want to embrace as much of his story as we can?

Other people say it’s okay to celebrate the birth of Jesus, but just not in December because he was born in the spring. They believe celebrating Christ’s birth near the winter solstice, might mislead the pagans into thinking we are friendly with them. It’s obvious the self-righteous among us are scared spit-less of bumping into a pagan or actually anyone who doesn’t go to their church and follow the exact same traditions they do.

The sad thing about those who tell us to celebrate his birth at any other time of the year is that you never hear of them talking about Jesus’s birth period. They can’t celebrate in the spring when they say he was actually born because that’s too close their resurrection services where they like to point out that Easter is banned as pagan, but the resurrection is still biblical.

Among those who celebrate Christmas in December, are Christians who think a tree is okay because Martin Luther brought a tree into the house and put candles on it in the sixteenth century. Since the father of the reformation celebrated Christmas with a lit tree, then surely it sets a precedent for Protestants everywhere, right?

People who worry about Christmas traditions seem to see the stocking half empty–no room for a tree because it’s pagan, no room for presents because that’s materialism, no room for the baby Jesus story because it’s too pretty and isn’t as meaty as his bloody death.

On the other hand, what if we saw this Christmas stocking half full? What if celebrating Christmas could be a bridge between Christians and Pagans? What if we realized those who first brought the first fir bough inside and baked something sweet at the darkest time of the year, were simply celebrating the sun and its future return to spring with all the warmth and food that we need to survive on this planet? If we were not to push but be ourselves, maybe the pagans could see that we who believe in the Son are celebrating his first advent with gratitude and acknowledging that all we have comes from the Creator of the Earth, who gives us what we need season after season in this often dark world.

The solstice was created by the Creator too. The real difference I see between the two celebrations is pagans are celebrating nature while believers are celebrating the Creator of nature. Do we have to remain hostile to those who see differently than us? If we can allow some small people to believe in Santa Claus, why can’t we allow them to not believe as they grow older? It’s not like people have a choice, either we believe in something, or we don’t. It puzzles many of our earth-loving friends that those who claim to worship the Creator of the Earth, do so little to take care of the Earth.

What if we who celebrate the maker of the earth gathered together with those who celebrate the earth and just extended an evergreen branch to say all are welcome here because we all need warmth and light and in the darkest of times? Can we just offer friendship and hospitality? What then? Would we not be honoring the maker of the Earth? Would we not be celebrating the love we were told by Jesus to give to all people? Does it matter who brought the evergreen inside as long as we all find a common ground around it and share the love we were created to give each other?

One of the least narcissistic things we can do during the holidays is to respect the celebrations and beliefs of all people and not try to whip others into our own image. Whether we’re going to celebrate Christmas or not, those who embrace Christ could act a little more like Jesus. Perhaps the Spirit of Jesus could just as well be the Spirit of Christmas–if we are open to the birth and life and death and resurrection of Jesus. I think our pagan friends would be relieved if, in the Spirit of Christmas, we set aside our superiority and acknowledged this world is dark and cold and we all need light and each other.

Maybe the evergreen could be a symbol of unity between beliefs because its fragrance reminds us of the beauty of the earth and for the believers among us, it could be a reminder that our lives, lived out in love, are a pleasing aroma to our Creator. May we all wake up and follow the Light.

So whether you celebrate the earth, or celebrate the Creator of the earth, I wish you happy holidays!

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