Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

So, it's Christmas Eve, and although the fact shouldn't have to be said, apparently there needs to be certain reminders every year. These reminders have been done for a number of years because of certain people or groups of people.

The world has been celebrating Christmas in many a fashion for a very long time. Throughout the years the notion of a Santa Claus type personage came into being and it was a fun thing to share with the children.

However, recently there have been some people who wish to be offended at the notion of Christmas, the term Christmas, the public portrayal of Christmas. They don't necessarily mind having a tree in a public square (although some of them do), but do not wish it to be referred to as a Christmas tree. The kids taking a break from school can't take a Christmas break. We can't send Christmas cards to family and friends. Everything is to be termed 'holiday'. Because Christmas is mainly a Christian holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus, some Jews, some Muslims, some atheists, some practitioners of other religions or not, or the folks at the ACLU and other such groups spout annual offenses against the Christian traditions. Every year you'll read or hear about lawsuits to remove Nativity scenes or Christmas trees and other decorations from public squares or lawns or light posts. And, normally, this is the one time of year where defenders of Christianity will stand up and say to these folks: shut up. And I'll say the same thing:

SHUT UP!

Recently, I was speaking to a Mexican family about Thanksgiving. They didn't celebrate it because it was strictly an American holiday. That's cool. I didn't begrudge them. They celebrated another Mexican holiday in their own style and that's cool. I wasn't offended they weren't joining in on the turkey and fixings. And I wasn't offended they celebrated their own holiday.

If you don't want to celebrate Christmas, fine. You have the right not to do so. If you take offense at the decorations and the hymns being played in the public square and the malls, and the Christmas tree lighting ceremonies and the Santa Claus sightings...fine. Be offended. However, you do not have the right not to be offended. In other words: shut up when it comes to allowing those who do like all of the above and more to enjoy them. If you don't believe in God or Jesus, fine. In my opinion, you have far more to worry about than getting all upset about my hanging lights on my house windows.

Why is it the offended have to be attended to?

Personally, I think Christmas is a lot more than celebrating the birth of a person and if some of these people and groups would only get past the stupidity of their lawsuits and their useless offended nature, they might see similarly.

When my family gathers to open gifts, to eat good food, enjoy the lights of the tree and the house (and yes, egad! enjoy the snow), it's to celebrate family and togetherness. To say we all made it through another year. To watch the happiness of each other receiving new toys and clothes and candles and coffee and gadgets and other miscellany. To be warm and cherished in the relationships.

If you want to add the religious aspect to it, fine, all the better. If not, why can't the fact that family is together suffice? If these offended don't want to have that feeling, fine. If they want to have the feeling on another day, or in another way, I say go for it. If you don't want to buy gifts, or want to practice the liturgy of Hanukkah, go out into the woods and worship the tree god, or even if you want to stay home and drink a six pack of your favorite brew...whatever trips your trigger. I promise you, if it doesn't harm anyone else, I won't be offended.

I'm not forcing my beliefs on you, though, but I am going to call it a Christmas tree, and Christmas cards and say, “Merry Christmas.” Because whatever your think, that's what this season is about. Christmas. However I choose to celebrate it. If you don't wish to participate, fine. But shut up and let those who do, do so without having to constantly defend it.

1 comment:

Holli said...

Thank you, that was something that definitely NEEDED to be said. At my kids' school we have to call it the winter party and the winter holiday and can't use the "C" word-- the other "C" word, well, actually, never mind, we can't really use either one. Anyway, we can't use the "E" word either, and have to call it the spring party and the spring holiday.

The school is one of only a few academic magnets, which draws a fairly diverse student body from all races and cultures, and the worst part about the limiting of our terminology and celebration is that the majority of the non-Christians in the school celebrate Christmas in addition to their own customs, at least when it comes to the tree and presents, and wouldn't be offended if we were allowed to call it Christmas. I continue to call it Christmas, and then add, "Oops, I meant winter. My bad."

At least we don't need a code name for New Years-- or do we?

Holli Castillo
Gumbo Justice
www.hollicastillo.com