It has always interested me that the Christ in Christmas is ignored, or at best downplayed significantly, by so many Australians. There are some people of other religious faiths who naturally do not celebrate Christmas. Then there are the majority of Australians who do celebrate Christmas, but would describe themselves as not religious. The latter often use the line "I have my own beliefs".
What is particularly curious is the deliberate exclusion of Christ from Christmas. Someone recently said to me that Christmas had nothing to do with religion. She meant for her personally, but it sounded so dismissive that it made me wonder. I understand if people don't want to emphasize the religious aspect of Christmas. If they do not want to acknowledge that the birth of the single most influential person ever is personally significant; fair enough. However you can't say it is not important. To deny the poignancy of this historical event, and its subsequent, and continuing impact on billions of people seems a bit ludicrous. Whatever else it may be to people, Christmas, as the name suggests, is patently about the birth of Jesus Christ. To say otherwise, is insulting and offensive.
There are number of universal values which are associated with Christmas aside from overtly religious ones. Omitting the few Grinches who dwell among us, most people, Christian or not, recognize the Christmas season as a time for family and friends, for giving and receiving, and a time for relaxing and reflecting. We all desire peace and we wish others well. There is a spirit of generosity and hospitality, a kind of communal bonhomie which permeates life, from the workplace to the market place, to our homes and neighbourhoods. It is a happy time, and a hopeful time for most people.
Generally, people will give the same basic answer to the question, "What does Christmas mean for you?" so it makes perfect sense to me, in identifying these common values, to also acknowledge their source. Values do not originate in vacuums. Are Christmas values not also Christian values, or religious values? Or do they spring from the hearts of men, as humanists would have us believe. What is the origin of faith, and hope and love? Where do these cherished and indispensable qualities come from? Are they human or divine?