Our panellists battle it outby Simon Jenkins, Amanda Craig / December 10, 2015 / Leave a comment
Published in January 2016 issue of Prospect Magazine
Simon Jenkins—Columnist for the Evening Standard and the Guardian
Christmas has always been a challenge to the rational parent. It has long superseded Easter as the defining festival of Christendom. While Easter celebrates crucifixion and resurrection—fused with pagan rituals of spring and rebirth—feasting over a special baby has come to seem a more natural family event. Of the twin theologies, a crude shelter, a parent with child, and copious present-giving compose a more comforting myth than political murder. Splice it on to six weeks of rampant commercialism and the modern Christmas has become a secular festival, booming even as its origins grow insignificant for most celebrants.
It is best left that way. Like most non-practising Christians, I cannot remember when I “stopped believing” in baby Jesus and Santa Claus. My family was devout and said prayers at Christmas, but I have no recollection of any switch from belief to non-belief. I regarded, as I still do, such cultural traditions a…