Now that Thanksgiving is over the Christmas decorations are going up. You start to think of shopping for gifts and what it means to celebrate Christmas as a Kemetic. Is it hypocritical to be both a Kemetic and observe Christmas?
The short answer? No.
For one, many of the holiday traditions from decorating a Christmas tree to gift giving are pagan, not Christian, in origin. For me the Christmas tree is a symbol of life enduring even in the midst of death. The gifts we give our family and friends show our love for them.
Also it’s easy to observe the birth of another divinity at the winter solstice. Now is the best time to celebrate any solar deity you wish. Instead of Christmas being a celebration of Jesus’s birthday, I often celebrate the birth of Horus the Younger, Son of Isis.
During December I created a special devotion that focuses on the upcoming birth of Horus and the maternity of Isis. Early in the month I take Horus off my altar for the time being or place a cloth over the depictions of the infant Horus nursing at Isis’s breast. I think about the trials Isis went through as she wandered into the marshes away from all the comfort and luxury a goddess should have. She did this so her child would be safe.
Many of my offerings are focused on the maternal/fertility aspects of Isis such as giving her bread, milk and fruit. I like to consider these offerings as going to Horus as well since I’m honoring the time he is still in his mother’s womb. I try to focus on giving Isis any comforts I’d want if exiled somewhere. On the altar I give light (LED candles), a blanket (I wrap the statue in a warm cloth), food, drink and some incense.
December is a good time to reflect on Isis’s love for us who is our spiritual mother. She cares and comforts us and would go to any length to protect us. If you’re ambitious you could get up before dawn to celebrate Horus’s birthday with lighting candles and offering gifts to him. Since I like to sleep in on Christmas morning I wait until midnight then light all my altar candles and place an array of sweets (candy and hand-decorated Christmas cookies) on the altar for Isis and Horus.
The date of Horus’s birthday is a bit of a sticking point. Should you celebrate Horus’s birthday on December 25 or December 22? I tend to move Horus’s birthday back to coincide with Christmas and the festivities. It might be more convenient to celebrate a day or two before if Christmas is a very busy family wise and a hectic time with little privacy.