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December 24th, 2011
10:00 PM ET

'What's Christmas without chopsticks?' How other faiths celebrate December 25th

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) -
Two days before Christmas, Imam Mohamed Magid, the executive director at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society, preached about Jesus at Friday prayers.

"We live in a country with a majority of Christians, where Christmas is a major holiday... It's a reminder we do believe in Jesus. Jesus' position in Islam is one of the highest prophets in Islam," Magid said, adding that Muslims view Jesus as a prophet on par with Abraham, Moses, Noah and Mohammad.

Often when he says the name of Mohammad or Jesus in conversation, Magid adds the Islamic honorific "Peace be upon him" after his name.

"Jesus is a unifying figure, unifying Muslims and Christians," he said. The Quran, the Islamic scriptures, makes specific mention of Jesus and of his mother Mary. "It's very interesting that there are many places where the prophet (Mohammad) is quoting Jesus."

Christmas has a way of bleeding into other faiths in America.  The Christian holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ in a manger in Bethlehem 2000 some odd years ago is ubiquitous across the country, even if the American tradition has leaned away from the sacred and toward the secular.

Christmas at every corner can be somewhat problematic for those who are not in the estimated 246 million Christians living in the United States.  But for some faiths, the season brings reminders of their own traditions.

CNN's Belief Blog – all the faith angles to the day's top stories

Magid said Muslims believe many of the same things about Jesus that Christians do: Jesus was born of the virgin Mary, he lived a sinless life, he raised the dead, and he preformed miracles. He also said many Muslim scholars believe that Jesus will one day return to the earth, using the Christian vocabulary of "the Second Coming."

Explain it to me: The Hajj

"Certain aspects of our theology are different," he carefully notes, pointing specifically to incarnation, the Christian belief that Jesus was divine. Muslims are perhaps the most ardent monotheists in the world, making them at odds with Christians theologically over not only the Christian doctrine of incarnation, but also belief in the Trinity, that God the Father, the Holy Spirit and Jesus are three in one.

The All Dulles Area Muslim Society is one of the largest Muslim congregations in the country with ties to 5,000 families in the Washington area. Some of the families do put up a Christmas tree and exchange gifts, which one member suspects is often more about cultural assimilation than religious observance.

"I think Muslims, although they believe in Jesus, they give respect to this as a Christian holiday, so they don't pretend to celebrate this in a religious way," Magid said. "A Muslim would not expect a Christian to celebrate his holiday."

My Take: Why we're skipping the Christmas roast

At the Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery three hours north of San Francisco, there is a small Christmas tree set up near the statue of the Buddha.

"Normally we just have flowers, incense and candles, but now we have a tiny Christmas tree. It's really cute," Ajhan Yatiko, a monk in residence who is originally from Canada, said. "It's more like a traditional thing, respecting and appreciating the culture of where we live."

During the holidays, Yatiko said, "The senior monk might give a talk to the lay people which might draw parallels between the Christian faith and the Buddhist faith, as well as the differences, because I think both of those are important aspects of interfaith harmony.

"Sometimes in the West these days there's a kind of tendency to clump all the religions together and say, 'We're all climbing the same mountain,' and I think the intention there is nice. There's a harmonious intention there. But I think it's much nicer to say, 'Let's respect the differences and love and appreciate the differences of the other faiths," Yatiko said.

For the monks at Abhayagiri, life is spent in meditation, community, celibacy and work. They practice Buddhism in the Theravada tradition or the Thai Forest tradition. In their faith tradition, monks cannot handle money, grow their own food or trade, so they live entirely off of the generosity of others.

That means every half moon, about once a week, they head into town for alms rounds, where they walk around in their saffron robes with alms bowls to collect donations. The new moon this week fell on Christmas Eve.

"Everyone we see is going to be wishing us a Merry Christmas, and we'll be doing likewise," Yatiko said a few days before Christmas.

"We don't touch money and live a very simple lifestyle, so the Christmas tradition of exchanging gifts doesn't work so well for us," Yatiko said.

Yet Buddhists are called to live generously at every chance, be it in material things or spiritual ones, so at Christmastime the monks bring a truckload of fire wood and a fruit basket to a neighboring Ukrainian Catholic monastery.

In Brooklyn, a Hasidic walking tour opens ultra-Orthodox Jewish life to outsiders

"We do have some rather revered traditions for Christmas Day," said Rabbi Rick Rheins.  "I'm not sure if it was Talmudic or not, to visit the movie theater followed by a Chinese dinner," joked Rheins referring the collection of ancient rabbi teaching called the Talmud.

"What's Christmas without chopsticks?" joked Rheins who is the head of Denver's Temple Sinai, a Reform congregation of about 1,100 families.

"We acknowledge the importance of this day for our Christian neighbors and for my Christian colleagues. And so we don't celebrate Christmas as Jews, but we do thrill for our Christian neighbors," he said. Rheins said the celebration of Hanukkah simultaneously at Christmastime this year will mean he won't be bringing in any Christmas metaphors into services on Friday and Saturday.

As for the Christmas Day itself, including the popcorn and chopsticks, he said, "We encourage our members to do special volunteer work to relieve our Christian neighbors of their responsibilities, whether it's at hospitals or emergency services, to give them the opportunity to spend this time with their family and celebrate this sacred day for them.

"Christians and Jews, especially over the last generation, have really worked so hard to build bridges, not just of tolerance, but also have generated true mutual respect and cooperation," he said. He cited working to fight hunger and poverty together. "These are the expressions of a society where the differences in religion and the expressions of one's faith are less divisive than they are enriching.

"I don't think that was the case a generation ago," Rheins said.

Christmas has a way of seeping into Hindu traditions, as well. At least the tree and presents part.  "Because of the children," Uma Mysorekar, the president of the Hindu Temple Society of North America said.

"The children say, 'Oh, there's a tree in my friend's house.  Why not in my house?' So they will get a small tree, a symbolic tree," Mysorekar said.

"We do look up to Jesus as one of the deities of Christianity," Mysorekar said.

At the Hindu Temple Society of North America in the Flushing area of Queens, New York, Christmas Day will be filled with worshipers coming in and out.  Unlike other faiths, Hindus do not have a set day for communal worship.  The temple is a key part of Hinduism for prayer, worship and offerings.  Christmas will be busier because of the three day weekend, Mysorekar guessed.

Their temple even had a holiday party for the children.

Sacred Spaces: Inside a Hindu temple

"We have a holiday party for them, and we give them gifts and tell them what it's all about.  You know the Hindu festival of Diwali, it is more or less the same, where we give gifts and we meet with friends... So the custom is very easy to relate to."

During Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, lamps are lit in celebration of good triumphing over evil.

"Apart from the religious aspect of it - the concept, theme of Christmas - I think it's very much the same all over," she said.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Buddhism • Christianity • Christmas • Hinduism • Islam

soundoff (2,252 Responses)
  1. From elsewhere

    " Why is it often that, when someone points out the lies of another person, the person who lied gets angry, rather than abashed. Never is this more apparent than when the lie pointed out is a lie to oneself, and the anger never more fierce than when the lie is one of religion." ~ G. Scott Wells

    December 25, 2011 at 1:32 am |
  2. Shahriarzadeh

    I am a Muslim and we celebrate the Christmas every year here in America with our Christian brothers. We have a Christmas tree in our home, we invited friends on Christmas eve and we pray for Jesus (Peace Be Upon Him). We believe that Jesus was a Prophet just like Mohammad, Moses and David and we have to celebrate his birthday, the way we celebrate Prophet Mohammad's birthday. No matter people from another religions think about us but Jesus (P.B.U.H) said himself, When the Light enters the Darkness Disappear. Marry Christmas People! 🙂

    December 25, 2011 at 1:31 am |
    • Raed Oweisi

      I do not want to disagree with my Muslims brother because we believe in the same books, the same God, the Same Prophets...etc.

      I just wanted to say that Muslims respect Jesus as a Messenger and is a human being too. He did not celebrate his own birthday, nor did his followers. So why should we? We have no right to add or delete anything from the Message of Jesus. Islam has also taught us that we have 2 yearly holidays, and we do not celebrate birthdays. We do not celebrate the birthday of Prohet Mohammed either because he did not practice it nor did his companions.

      We follow the Quran and the Sunnah.
      The Message of Islam is the same message as Adam, Noah, Ibrahim, Moses, Jesus, and all other messengers: to believe and worship 1 God without any partners. To believe that we will come back to life after death for the Day of Judgement, to preform good deeds...etc.
      Th

      December 25, 2011 at 1:46 am |
    • Isaac

      Merry Christmas, my Muslim friends. May peace and understanding between us increase this year, and may we all resist the forces that would make us enemies when we should be friends.

      December 25, 2011 at 7:45 am |
  3. BrianBear

    The correct term is "Reform," and not "Reformed." The latter is considered an offensive term (since there's nothing to be "reformed" from) and I'd ask the article be edited.

    December 25, 2011 at 1:30 am |
  4. Moo

    I'm a practicing Christian, but I think its important we recognize those who don't believe what we do, and give them the respect THEY deserve as human beings as well? I also live in one of the reddest states in the union (WY), where Christianity is the rule and not the exception, but as a public school teacher, I think its important that my students know that there are other beliefs out there, and how those with other beliefs celebrate those beliefs. They're little, so that's about all they can understand. I hope as they get older they'll be curious about other people and their lives, but still be respectful and kind.

    December 25, 2011 at 1:29 am |
  5. maximusvad

    Christmas was originally a pagan celebration that would not be given up during early Christianity so they took the old adage "If you can't beat them...join them" and integrated it directly into the Religion. Walla.... Merry Christmas.

    December 25, 2011 at 1:24 am |
    • Dan

      You mean "voila" not "walla."

      December 25, 2011 at 1:37 am |
    • Chris R

      Let's assume you are right. So what? What does it matter if the early Christians decided to celebrate the feast of the nativity on December 25th? Does it make the liturgical importance of the day any less meaningful (and really, it's only about the 4th most important Christian holiday. Easter, the Annunciation, and Lent are all more important)? No one, well, no one who actually bothered to study it, even says this was the birthday of Jesus. It's just the day that was chosen celebrate it.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:39 am |
    • itscion

      This is common knowledge.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:40 am |
    • itscion

      And what you meant to write was that Yule was the Pagan holiday celebrated between the end of Dec through early Jan. Christmas was always a celebration of the birth of Jesus but did not include certain rituals like gift giving and tree decorating, those came from Yule. Yule wasn't moved to Dec 25th until the Christian calendar was adopted by the Pagans.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:43 am |
    • Buzzer

      Wrong, Constantine in the Eastern Roman Empire suggested the celebration of Christ's birth in conjunction with the pagan holiday in order to unite the growing Christian movement with the existing pagans of the day to prevent an uprising and threat to his power. The Christian leaders of the day agreed to promote faith in Christ. Having said that, who cares when Christ's birthday is celebrated? The fact that it is the greatest day for billions of people and that is rightfully celebrated is just a significant as HIS resurrection at Easter. This constant point that people like to say about when Christmas is celebrated as if there is no significance to Christ birth...that argument is weak and tired.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:45 am |
    • JohnR

      @ChrisR Yes, it matters. When Christians either insist that their nativity fable is the "true meaning" of the December 25th festivities, they are wrong. When Christians, aware of the pagan roots of the timing and many of the traditions surrounding Christmas, forbid the celebration of those traditions on December 25th, they are wrong.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:48 am |
    • itscion

      JohnR. Christians aren't forbidding anything. Yule wasn't even celebrated on the 25th. It had no exact date. Learn history then you might not be so ignorant to the situation.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:56 am |
  6. From elsewhere

    I am treated as evil by people who claim that they are being oppressed because they are not allowed to force me to practice what they do. ~ Gulledge

    December 25, 2011 at 1:22 am |
    • Tom

      Oh the poor non religious person wants to be empowered some more, lets empower them and censor ourselves so they can feel better about themselves.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:23 am |
    • Answer

      Let the christians keep on whining about them being persecuted. It's far more entertaining.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:25 am |
    • THE BIBLE IS GARBAGE

      THAT ACTUALLY SOUNDS LIKE A GOOD PLAN

      December 25, 2011 at 1:26 am |
    • Tom

      I love how they want to do away with freedom of religion, just like all our freedoms... those heathens sure are something else.. ha ha ha.. kiss my ___

      December 25, 2011 at 1:28 am |
  7. Dave

    Good spirit article about tolerance, something serverely lacking in todays society; even religious and atheist types alike. We don't all need to believe the same thing. We just need to play nice with each other.

    December 25, 2011 at 1:22 am |
    • Tom

      Respect died in this country years and years ago.. All we have now are immature adults that never have to grow up or accept any responsibility for themselves, ever. I would love to get back to respecting others as I wish to be respected, privacy, etc, all that great stuff from a long time ago, but these nutjobs are too crazy, neurotic, just plain need babysitting all times of the day and night. I was out today doing my xmas shopping, and I am always amazed at how many idiots exist on this same planet as myself. It helps to have a good sense of humor I guess.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:26 am |
    • THE BIBLE IS GARBAGE

      TOM YOU RAISE A VERY GOOD POINT

      ADULTS THAT PRAY TO A NON EXISTENT BEING BECAUSE THEY CAN'T TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR OWN ACTIONS SHOULD GROW UP. IT'S IMMATURE TO EXPECT THE SPACE PRINCESS TO MAGICALLY GIVE PEOPLE THINGS THAT THEY ASK FOR INSTEAD OF WORKING FOR IT

      December 25, 2011 at 1:35 am |
    • itscion

      Tom and Dave....great points...the other troll is simply lost and in need of therapy.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:45 am |
  8. Sanseh

    Another year passes, waiting for their judgement day. It may establish legitimacy to their religion.. Poor innocent animals/trees are sacrificed for their sadistic ritual. It seems Christians want to consume the world and all creation.

    December 25, 2011 at 1:19 am |
  9. Mickey

    Christians and other non-Jews might learn to wish Jews 'Happy Chanukah' – for many reasons, too numerous to mention.

    Well, one is that Jesus celebrated Chanukah. Let ALL light their menorahs. That togetherness would make for a glorious glow on Earth.

    December 25, 2011 at 1:18 am |
  10. expakistani

    Islam teaches Jesus was a prophet .... oh sure ... and if you want to worship him you cannot wear a cross nor build a church ... but he is a prophet. What baloney Imam Mohamed Magid.

    December 25, 2011 at 1:17 am |
    • Tom

      And if I can make a slight suggestion, don't live in the middle east. Hope that helps!

      December 25, 2011 at 1:18 am |
    • moebar

      there are Christians and churches in the middle east....

      December 25, 2011 at 1:20 am |
    • Hanna3333

      Why would you want to worship a Prophet? Only God deserves your worship.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:33 am |
    • YBP

      Who wants to live in the middle east, still one of the most backward, ignorant places on the planet? Thanks for the free advice.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:39 am |
    • seth

      Why would you wear a symbolic item(cross), on which your savior was tortured and killed? Why would you add his glorious name to each and almost every one of your bad, ugly swearing words? jesus effin for example, on the other hand I have never seen a muslim who doesnt say his name along with peace be upon him... glorifying him. Just think... be your own judge

      December 25, 2011 at 1:42 am |
  11. Daleri Rileda

    Hallel to Jah because He always gets all of the credit Himself alone.

    December 25, 2011 at 1:12 am |
    • Tom

      Funny, other faiths don't come to mind very easily when I am celebrating my own. Merry Christmas Heathens!

      Get with the program. Jesus Saves!

      December 25, 2011 at 1:17 am |
    • THE BIBLE IS GARBAGE

      HOW CAN JESUS SAVE ANYTHING WHEN NO ONE SAVED JESUS FROM GETTING NAILED TO A BLOCK OF WOOD?

      December 25, 2011 at 1:31 am |
    • m@

      You needn't shout so much to prove your point.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:50 am |
    • Daleri Rileda

      Our deeds are on and against our Maker any way you look at it.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:58 am |
  12. Julius

    I'm an atheist, but I like to celebrate all festivals. It's the only thing that brings out the good in people of all faiths. Why can't everybody just get along?

    December 25, 2011 at 1:10 am |
    • Daleri Rileda

      There can only be one truth...

      ...only our Msker can remake us again as He is willing because there is no one else who can.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:16 am |
    • GAW

      Perhaps it's because extremists exist everywhere and want to be intolerant. For them it's all or nothing.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:18 am |
    • Tom

      There is no respect from most Atheists, just like there isn't much Respect from all those people who we have empowered by enabling them for being that one kid that doesn't get to celebrate Christmas. That isn't what the West was originally about, and certainly wasn't on the mind of the founding fathers of America. We have empowered and enabled all of these people simply because they don't believe in anything, and that is just wrong. Freedom of Religion means exactly that. If you can't respect them for their religious perspectives, then you are in the wrong part of the world. Try China or North Korea.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:21 am |
    • Answer

      "There can only be one truth..."

      So right –> science.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:21 am |
  13. THE BIBLE IS GARBAGE

    I LIKE HOW EVERY YEAR ON THE NEWS AROUND CHRISTMAS THEY LIKE TO BROADCAST STORIES OF APARTMENT BUILDINGS BURNING DOWN

    AND THEN THEY ALWAYS INTERVIEW PEOPLE CRYING AND ASK "SO, HOW DOES THIS MAKE YOU FEEL TO BE HOMELESS AND TO HAVE LOST ALL OF YOUR CRAP DURING THE HOLIDAYS?"

    IT'S THE ONLY TIME I CAN REALLY ENJOY THE NEWS

    December 25, 2011 at 1:07 am |
    • GAW

      Ill ask you again Caps Lock Off Please!! I know you need a lot of attention tonight but you don't need to shout in order to get it.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:12 am |
    • THE BIBLE IS GARBAGE

      I'LL TELL YOU AGAIN

      NO

      YOU CAN GO CRY ABOUT SOMETHING ELSE NOW

      GO ON, IT'LL BE OK. IT'S NOT THE END OF THE WORLD

      December 25, 2011 at 1:15 am |
    • GAW

      Seems you're doing most of the crying around here. ha ha

      December 25, 2011 at 1:20 am |
    • kr

      I pity your sick mind. You need a therapist to see the beauty of others and the world.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:23 am |
    • THE BIBLE IS GARBAGE

      I SEE PLENTY OF BEAUTY IN THINGS

      LIKE FLOWERS. ON FIRE.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:30 am |
    • GrumpyOldLady

      I thought he (GarbageCan) cried himself to sleep as he went away for awhile but I see he woke up again. Why don't you put a little rum in the eggnog and relax.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:32 am |
    • GrumpyOldLady

      Flowers on fire, hey? OK. You exposed your real self. You're laughing your head off. HEY FOLKS – he's trolling and he got some of us to fire back at him. Let me guess, GarageCan, you are white, thinning hair if any at all, over forty, not married, no children, and LIVING WITH YOUR PARENT. Sad but true, isn't it?

      December 25, 2011 at 1:40 am |
    • Raed Oweisi

      I am a Muslim and I believe in the Bible, the original Bible sent to Jesus.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:52 am |
    • THE BIBLE IS GARBAGE

      NO. YOU ARE INCORRECT.

      WHAT IS "GARAGECAN?" IS THAT A CAN PLACED AWKWARDLY IN A GARAGE SOMEWHERE THAT HOLDS THINGS LIKE SCREWS AND OTHER SMALL INCONSEQUENTIAL PARTS ONE MIGHT FIND IN, ON OR AROUND A CAR?

      HERE'S WHAT I FIND REALLY FUNNY

      YOU SAY I'M A TROLL, YOU JUST MADE A SAD ATTEMPT TO "WARN" OTHERS ABOUT YOUR MAGNIFICENT DISCOVERY, YOU THEN GO ON TO "FIRE BACK" WHICH YOU JUST WARNED OTHERS ABOUT, AND THEN YOU MADE COMPLETELY INCORRECT ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT MY PHYSICAL APPEARANCE, MARITAL STATUS AND LIVING CONDITIONS.

      HERE'S WHAT YOU GOT CORRECT:
      I AM WHITE
      I DON'T HAVE KIDS (AND DON'T WANT ANY BECAUSE THEY'RE USELESS AND DRAIN BANK ACCOUNTS WHICH I LIKE TO KEEP FULL, AND MY WIFE AGREES)

      I AM MARRIED
      I LIVE 2,586 MILES FROM THE CITY WHERE BOTH OF MY PARENTS LIVE.

      TO FURTHER CORRECT YOUR MISGUIDED ASSUMPTIONS:
      I DO NOT PLAY VIDEO GAMES
      I OWN THREE VEHICLES – ONE TO COMMUTE TO WORK, ONE TO RACE, AND ONE FOR OFF-ROAD USE
      MY MOMMY AND DADDY DIDN'T GIVE ME MONEY, I ACTUALLY WORK FOR A LIVING AND MADE IT TO WHERE I AM ON MY OWN WITHOUT THE HELP OF ANYONE

      DETECTIVE BONEHEAD, THANKS FOR PLAYING BUT I SUGGEST A NEW HOBBY.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:59 am |
  14. It's a sing-a-long!

    ~Christians roasting on an open fire~

    December 25, 2011 at 1:04 am |
    • Mickey

      Well, aren't you a cauldron of love!!

      Chestnuts roasting ... a song written by Mel Torme (Jewish) – as is White Christmas.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:21 am |
    • Tom

      If you replaced the word Christian with Jews, you would be a nazi. Way to go there big guy!!

      December 25, 2011 at 1:22 am |
  15. GinaNSocal

    Happy Christmas Everyone!!!

    December 25, 2011 at 1:01 am |
    • Monte

      Merry Christmas to you too Gina. God Bless!!

      December 25, 2011 at 1:34 am |
    • Mirosal

      And just which "Savior" (or god) was born of Adam and Eve?

      December 25, 2011 at 1:36 am |
  16. Daleri Rileda

    The first mention of a Savior (God) born of a woman was to Adam and Eve.

    The truth has been around since the very beginning, only our Maker can be our Savior because there is no one else who can be.

    December 25, 2011 at 1:00 am |
    • Answer

      I like to see how long it would take you to fully convince yourself of that.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:03 am |
  17. From elsewhere

    "He who will not reason is a bigot; he who cannot is a fool; and he who dares not, is a slave."
    — William Drummond

    December 25, 2011 at 12:50 am |
    • WCatholic2

      Good point. Is there any hope of raising the tone of the comments section? Not exactly "National press Club" level debate is it? A lot of venom but not much in the way of ideas.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:00 am |
  18. From elsewhere

    "I am for liberty of conscience in its noblest, broadest, and highest sense. But I cannot give liberty of conscience to the pope and his followers, the papists, so long as they tell me, through all their councils, theologians, and canon laws that their conscience orders them to burn my wife, strangle my children, and cut my throat when they find their opportunity."
    — Abraham Lincoln

    December 25, 2011 at 12:50 am |
    • WCatholic2

      I have to admit, Old Abe has a point. The Church had set itself squarely against modernity after the Enlightenment. In many respects this was a valid concern, but in others we had, and have much to repent for.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:06 am |
    • Christian American

      "That I am not a member of any Christian Church, is true; but I have never denied the truth of the Scriptures; and I have never spoken with intentional disrespect of religion in general, or any denomination of Christians in particular."

      "I do not think I could myself, be brought to support a man for office, whom I knew to be an open enemy of, and scoffer at, religion."

      "Intelligence, patriotism, Christianity, and a firm reliance on Him, who has never yet forsaken this favored land, are still competent to adjust, in the best way, all our present difficulty."

      "All the good the Saviour gave to the world was communicated through this book. But for it we could not know right from wrong. All things most desirable for man's welfare, here and hereafter, are to be found portrayed in it."

      — Abraham Lincoln

      December 25, 2011 at 1:11 am |
  19. J Mann

    As kids in the USA (in the fifties) Christmas was about Santa Claus, saying 'Merry Christmas' was about just feeling good at this time of year and doing some good for others. Yeah, the Nativity scenes were around here and there, but mostly it was songs about Snowmen, trees all decorated and toys galore. Only in the last few decades has this onus come up around Christmas, where you can't say Merry Christmas for fear of offending someone. What a crock! Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

    December 25, 2011 at 12:50 am |
    • Bill

      It's not a "crock." There is a separation of church and state in this country. Even if every last American were devoutly Christian, America would be a secular nation, not a Christian one. And don't wish me a Merry Christmas, please. The implication is that I am Christian which I am not. Take the time to find out or say nothing.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:13 am |
    • itscion

      Bill. Get therapy. You are exactly what is wrong with our country. You are intolerant of anything you don't approve. Too bad.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:50 am |
  20. GAW

    Jesus released me from evil manlust. I don't even notice a really good looking man anymore. Now I'm married to a good Christian woman, and I've never been happier ... really.

    December 25, 2011 at 12:50 am |
    • Sunny

      "Thou shall now bear false witness"....remember???

      December 25, 2011 at 1:10 am |
    • YBP

      There's a place for people like you, GAW. I believe it's called the GOP.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:48 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.