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Why most Americans celebrate Christmas

by Brad A. Greenberg

December 25, 2010 | 10:33 pm

In case you missed it, today was Christmas. Why do most Americans celebrate Christmas? It may please atheists to learn that it isn’t Jesus. At least that is what LifeWay Research found, as USA Today reports:

“A lot of Americans celebrate Christmas like they participate in yoga: unaware and unconcerned about its religious roots,” says Ed Stetzer, LifeWay president and a Southern Baptist pastor.

There are no statistics to prove whether LifeWay’s snapshot of Christmas 2010 is part of a trend or a moment unique for its secular spin. But experts say it reveals several forces inflating a Santa balloon over the season:

•Blame the little kids. Although 37% say Christmas is more religious when children are present, 43% says it’s less so.

“That’s not surprising when more people encourage belief in Santa Claus (38%) than tell the Gospel story (28%) that undergirds the whole of Christianity,” Stetzer says.

So few people hear the Nativity story of the birth of a savior unless they see Peanuts character Linus recite Luke 2:8-14 in A Charlie Brown Christmas.

“Sure, people will say Jesus is the reason for the season, but Thor is the reason the fifth day of the week is named Thursday. That doesn’t mean I celebrate Thor. The fact is, people don’t open the Gospel and read why Jesus came,” Stetzer says.

LifeWay isn’t exactly the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, but their findings are interesting. Find more here.

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