To the editor: While I can tell that Joshua Pederson is an earnest and caring parent, he passed up a golden opportunity that can never start too early — to teach differences and acceptance of those differences. (“As a nonbeliever, I tried to teach my kids the real meaning of Christmas,” Opinion, Dec. 24)
The answer to his 8-year-old son’s question, “Why does everybody celebrate Jesus’ birth?” is that not everybody does. There are plenty of friends that his children will make in the coming years, and likely have already, who do not celebrate the birth of Jesus.
They can know this and accept it now. That may help them understand their father’s own discomfort later when he is ready to explain his mixed feelings about Christmas as a nonbeliever.
Lise Spiegel, Encino
To the editor: I applaud Pederson for his courage and transparency in sharing what he did. It must be challenging to teach something that you don’t believe.
Even though I grew up in a family who identified as Christian, I can’t recall the real meaning of Christmas being taught in our home. Later, as a young adult, I explored the Bible to discover what this story was all about.
Yes, social justice for the poor and downtrodden is heavy on God’s heart. Yet, this is just part of the story, but not the main one for Christmas.
The gospel written by Matthew is clear and transparent regarding the purpose of Christmas when it says that Jesus “will save the people from their sins,” in Chapter 1, verse 21. That’s thought-provoking and courageous.
Wesley Stalnaker, Santa Clarita
To the editor: I do not know if Jesus was God, but I know he walked the earth and taught compassion. Over the centuries Christianity got away from the basic teaching of Christmas.
I once read a warning to Christian leaders: “Take the gold of the altars and give it to the poor, before the suffering crowd will come and take it.”
Maybe the holidays are a time to reflect on the true meaning of the season and to take care of the poor, the hungry and the suffering. If Jesus came today, where would he go?
Danute Handy, Santa Barbara
To the editor: Pederson wrote a very thoughtful article on faith and the meaning of Christmas. I look forward to future opinion pieces from members of other faiths to be published on their holidays. That would be equitable and inclusive.
Peter Corrigan, Arcadia