Yuletide Greetings

16Dec09

Today’s triggers are related to the holiday season.  The first was the phrase, “Jesus is the reason for the season.”  I understand that Christians, keeping in the tradition begun by Pope Julius I, wish to celebrate the birth of the man whom they believe to be their savior on December 25th.  I have no problem with that.  What I do have a problem with is the idea many of them seem to harbor that the December 25th celebrations began because of Jesus of Nazareth (I also think it’s a poor choice of words; it implies that the winter season itself would not exist if not for Jesus, but that’s the lesser of my concerns).  The fact is, people all over the world were holding celebrations that time of year long before the birth of Jesus, for various reasons related to their own gods.  Perhaps Jesus is your personal reason for celebrating on December 25th and the days surrounding.  He is not the sole reason for such celebrations, and it is absurd to believe that people who wish to celebrate other things in other ways during that time are doing it wrong.  In fact, the people who see Christmas as a time for feasting, celebrating, and generally having fun are a lot closer to the mark when it comes to the origins of the season than Christians.  I’m not saying any approach to the celebration of Christmas is wrong…I am saying that it’s wrong to be judgmental of others’ reasons for celebration.

Which brings me to my next subject–“Happy Holidays.”  This is a phrase about which I must endure countless rants from as soon as store decorations go up until the time they go down.  My father, and many other Christians I know, take it as a personal insult.  I hate making broad generalizations though, so for this particular rant I will speak about the subject only in relation to my father’s beliefs.  My father is of the mind that America as a whole is trying to squash the Christians underfoot and make it so they are unable to practice their religion.  This is because of the steps that are finally being made to show publicly that, yes, we as a nation are aware that there are other religions out there, and they should be respected.  Every time he starts harping on that idea (like when it was decided the ten commandments shouldn’t be displayed in Alabama’s judicial building…go figure, that might make certain people uncomfortable), I have to hold my tongue (arguing with my father is pointless), but it is especially difficult to do so when it comes to Happy Holidays.  I don’t see how he can’t understand that, as important as his religion is to him, the same goes for everyone else in the world with varying beliefs.  He would be angry and completely insulted if the stores only put up Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or Saturnalia banners and displays during the month of December.  How can he not realize that it is incredibly insulting to people of other faiths to do so with Christian Christmas decorations?  Why can there be no respect of other beliefs, even if you do not share them?

Perhaps this year I’ll wrap my father’s gift in some bright Santa Claus wrapping, with a huge “Happy Holidays!” tag on it.  But then, I would be descending to that level of disrespect and, while the message would be clear, I hope there is a better way to go about sending it.

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