"If we understand that one of the messages of Christmas is 'peace on earth, and goodwill to all men', then the participation of non-Christian minorities in the festival is a ringing endorsement of it. Many of our non-Christian population, as with many of Christian heritage who now profess no religion, engage in Christmas because it is an excuse to commune happily with their fellow men and women. For those from different cultures, it is also a chance to identify with their adopted country; and, perhaps every bit as important, to show the indigenous population that they have integrated in every sense, and we can all exist harmoniously together. That was one of the poisonous aspects of the so-called multicultural society, now disowned by so many of those who profess to speak on behalf of our minorities. It has, slowly, sunk in that if we all want to get along with each other, then trying to take part in the cultural mainstream does no harm at all.
" ... You do not need to be a Christian to regret that so much of this new meaning is to be found in commercialism and materialism. ... I wrote exactly a year ago about the unsatisfactory nature of our Christmas carols, and how so many of them are simply dirges that have been fashioned so that even the most tone-deaf of us can sing them. Yet there are exceptions, and the very finest transmit not so much a feeling of religious awe and devotion as a sense of what life used to be like in Old England, before even the Christmases sentimentally portrayed by Dickens, and on which (such was the power of his language and imagination) we still base so much of our own ideas and expectations about what Christmas should be."
- Simon Heffer, writing in The Telegraph on why "non-Christians make Christmas merrier"
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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