While roaming the blogosphere aimlessly this weekend I stumbled across some new and interesting sites. (Yes, I've become addicted to Michele's site - if you like finding new reads and you've not visited her yet you owe it to yourself to take the trip.) Anyway, I digress. . .
At one of my stops this weekend I came across Joe's entry on "War on Christmas." Something about it itched my little brain and finally this morning it hit me. I knew I wanted to respond to it. So now I will. Now granted, I can't respond for everyone and anyone that ever grumbled about "Holiday" over "Christmas." Take this rant for what it's worth - just my very own not so humble two cents.
First, let's clarify something. I have no problem with the store clerk that says "Happy Holidays" as I complete my transaction. Clearly this is a season of many holidays and unless we start wearing signs that say "I'm celebrating x" I think it's highly appropriate, not to mention considerate, for the complete stranger to take the generic route. If nothing else, regardless of which religious association you're linking up with, you've got your primary holiday AND New Year. Therefore unless you're crawling under a rock to celebrate nothing, you've got two holidays in close proximity no matter what you are. So again, the generic "Happy Holidays" ought to be uttered.
What I do have a problem with, however, is the stripping of Christmas from things that are purely Christmas. Let's face it, my Jewish cousins (and I do mean actual cousins, I'm not being figurative) are not chopping down an evergreen and decorating it in their living room this month. Anyone celebrating Kwanzaa is not decking the halls with boughs of holly. The pine tree is purely a Christmas element. It is *not* a "holiday tree" - it is a Christmas tree and there is not a single reason that I can think of that we need to publically pretend it's otherwise. Likewise, cartoons specials airing this time of year aren't often "holiday specials" if they're dabbling in Santa's and Drummer boys. Call it what it is and give up the PC fear.
It is not "X-mas" it is Christmas. If roughly 90% of Americans (which is the last stat I saw quoted somewhere) identify themsevles as Christian then it's safe to assume the vast majority of folks celebrating the Christmas are not aethist in it for the materialistic gifting aspect. Removing "Christ" from Christmas is catering to a fraction of the populous. If someone is offended by the religious component of a religious holiday they ought not celebrate it. Happy Festivus to them. Leave Christmas as it is.
If Mega-department store wants to bid me a happy holiday, I'll wish them one right back. If they want me to buy a holiday tree, well I'll make my purchase elsewhere.
In other holiday related musings - my last entry about sharing the season with my best friend appears to have generated a sometimes emotional response. Seriously, I think my parents have the same opinion I do on exposure to different beliefs and cultures. How can we honestly make a choice in what we believe if we don't know what our options are?
When I was a young confirmant (about 14 years old) Pastor E insisted we attend services of other religions. I'm Presbyterian. We went to a Catholic service. We visited the Methodist, the Lutherans, the Baptist, not to mention the local synagogue. I think if one had been established in our town in the late 80s, we'd have gone to the mosque too. He believed that in order for us to stand in front of the congregation and honestly say that yes, we wanted to be a member here and within this faith, we needed to know what we were saying. We needed to understand what made our church different from others. We needed to understand the administration differences as well as the basic core beliefs that set us apart from others (or not as the case may be.)
Personally, I think that pastor was a wise man. I also believe that the God I believe in wants me to be compassionate and understanding of all people - not just the ones I see on a Sunday morning. For me,part of being a good Christian isn't to force others to conform, it's to love them for who they are without worrying about what they are. I believe a relationship with a Higher Power, no matter what you call it, is a personal one. It's up to you and he/she to define. Not me.
I'm in danger of rambling and so I'll stop. I think I've blathered on enough for those that have stuck with it to have enough of an idea where I'm coming from. Thanks for humoring me. And oh, happy holidays. ;)