This Holiday Season

**I wrote this over the weekend and will preface it with the proviso that it is not intended to insult or offend. Me blowing off steam. But I felt it needed to be posted. Please also check this blog post I stumbled on this morning – http://www.foodgoodlaundrybad.com/2011/12/shut-up-you-fat-bag-of-snot.html

 

Holidays. Seems to be a bad word lately. And the argument over the “proper” way to address others during this time of year threatens to make me into a Grinch. It was very tempting to not decorate. It has been a while since I’ve really been in the mood for Christmas because of these arguments.

I spent my formative years in an area of the country where people observed numerous religious celebrations and it was not always apparent which one that may be. Christmas, Chanukah, Winter Solstice, Kwanzaa, Hogmanay or whatever else that happens in December. Yet, for some reason, people insist on everyone saying Merry Christmas.

  

If a person celebrates this Christian holiday, more power to them. What bothers me is that people seem to be losing sight of the fact that we live in the most diverse country in the world. And we should celebrate that diversity. Not ridicule it. Wasn’t our country founded on the principle of freedom of religion? Yet, we find ourselves on the brink of repeating history. Granted, Christians make up anywhere from 76% to 83% of the country, depending on what study you read. Not 100%. Even within any given religion, there are subtle differences as to how and what people celebrate or recognize.

        

I’ve met Christians that go full out with the trees, the lights, the Santa and reindeer decorations. And I’ve met some who refuse to put them up, no matter how ingrained they are in our society, because of their Pagan origins. Which is fine. For me, it’s a shame more people don’t know the origin of the traditions celebrated by not only their own religion, but others as well. So many of them are interconnected or have been passed down or shared.

This year, for the sake of my hubby, I am fighting being a Scrooge and have finished my holiday decorating along with my shopping. Plus, where would I put the wrapped gifts until I pass them out?

All I ask is that people research, ask and try to find out where our traditions come from before condemning the choices of others. After all, aren’t Christians celebrating the birth of a Jew who lived among Pagans? To me, it seems the season has always been diverse. Celebrate that vast wealth. Revel in it, as it is part of the season so many are celebrating. And as Evin says in the link I added above, if someone says Happy Holidays, say thank you. They made an effort to be nice to a stranger.

Froehliche Weinachten,

Melanie.

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6 thoughts on “This Holiday Season

  1. I like it! I like it a great deal. You know exactly what youre talking about, precisely where other individuals are coming from on this problem. Im glad that I had the fortune to stumble across your blog. Its absolutely an important issue that not enough people are talking about and Im glad that I got the chance to see all the angles.

  2. I am a follower of FPTD, but I am not a writer. I admire the fact that writer and artists of all types have the courage to put their hearts, beliefs and a bit of themselves in front of the world to be judged. With that brave spirit, I dust off my soap box, and grant Melanie my permission to remove this post if it causes too much of a stir.
    I am a Christian and celebrate Christmas in the dual sense.
    Christmas, as practiced in the church does not start until Christmas Eve. The 4 week season before Christmas is Advent. We are waiting in anticipation to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, but not a single Christmas carol is sung and there are no red poinsettias (or at least red vestments) until Christmas Eve. And, may I point out here we are celebrating the BIRTH of Christ, not his BIRTHDAY. Big difference. No one can verify he was born December 25th. Like several other religious holidays, it was decided to dedicate that day primarily to overshadow and hopefully convert a long standing pagan celebration. After Christmas Eve, the Church celebrates Christmas for 12 days until Epiphany. In this time, carols ring and, “Merry Christmas” is said, but it feels a little strained by this time, because the rest of the world (OK, maybe just America) has been shoving it down your throat for the past month and some. Maybe the proper greeting in this term is “Most Blessed Christmas”. Uh-oh, did I just add extra confusion to the subject?!
    Next, is the second type of Christmas. The consumer based, socially accepted (for some I guess) Christmas. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love this Christmas, too! I hate that it causes grief and guilt among families and neighbors. I hate that people feel obligated to dress, act or, in the case of this post, greet in a certain way. The “Merry Christmas” announced at this time, I believe is a call to the spirit of the child in you. If someone says “Merry Christmas” to you in this sense, they are saying, “Remember the world is full of wonder and magic! Cherish the moments and people close to your heart!”, but that’s a little wordy for the guy with the Salvation Army bucket to say. Of course, I can imagine this would only work if you really did have that childhood experience. I don’t see why my Mother-in-Law loves type 2 Christmas as much as she does. The Christmas stories from her childhood would make the staunchest Bah-Mumbug tear up. They didn’t get gifts on Christmas Eve, or even Christmas morning. Some how, her resilient, resourceful mother convinced her kids that their presents came 2 days after Christmas, so she could go to the Day-After sales and find what gifts she could afford for her 5 children, with whatever money she had hidden in her stockings. Certainly she now receives great joy from giving to her grown children and grandchildren. Yes, the gift buying and giving is, at it’s root, the Christian thing to do. After all Christian are trying to become more Christ-like, who we believe gave all for us. But shouldn’t the gift giving wait until Epiphany? Yeah, suggest that to your kids and see how well they take it!
    Now, on to the “Happy Holidays” greeting. I view this as an all encompassing salutation, not for different religions or belief systems, but the fact that Thanksgiving to New Years is one festivity after another! I wonder how many people would try to clock you if you’d start saying Happy Holidays rather then Happy Halloween? How about Memorial Day? They’re holidays, right? Happy Holidays. Yeah, I’m all right with that. If people feel they must correct you with “No, it’s CHRISTMAS” then they really aren’t in the spirit of either of the aforementioned Christmasses. It is not Christian to judge and put upon others your beliefs. If you are a Christian and do not agree with someone’s religious-outlook, sexual orientation, or holiday greeting style, you are supposed to pray for them that the holy spirit will guide they’re heart in the path that it right for them. Love your neighbor, don’t peck them to death with your ideas!
    Lastly, greetings for other celebrations. If you truly follow that, er, path; express it! If you are an atheist who loves the shopping season, then announce to everyone you see, “Happy Shopping!” If it brings you joy, who can criticize? I’d love to experience the shock of an exchange that goes, “Merry Christmas!”, with a return of,”And Happy Kwanzaa, to you!” All said with the greatest sincerity and joy.

    1. Thanks for that bit of admiration. It is difficult to put myself out here in cyberspace sometimes. Why on Earth would I delete such a well thought out, intelligent post? I learned something from it as the significance of the Catholic Midnight Mass makes a lot more sense to me now. I think you’re right about there being a dual Christmas celebrated. at least in the States. Winter Solstice is still celebrated, to my knowledge. There are still polytheistic religions in the world. To me, Catholicism feels like a polytheistic religion because of praying to not only God and Jesus, but to the Virgin Mary and any number of saints that have been canonized since the beginning of the church.

      I know most people don’t believe in a “pick and choose” type of follower. It’s either all or nothing for some. I tend to think no organized religion on Earth has everything right. I like and dislike things about all religions. I tend to draw from the power of the Earth and its inhabitants through the Pagan or Wiccan beliefs as I have had this work on many different instances of personal sickness. I have not been able to immerse myself fully in it because I have also been affected by the negative aspects of it. Ye olde friend said my post was a little wishy-washy and I guess in a way it is. I have been hesitant to really put my beliefs out there because really it’s none of anyone’s business. My deeds and conduct, not my religious beliefs, make me who I am. I think it would be extremely hypocritical for someone to say they are a friend until they find out that I don’t believe the same way they do. How boring would life be if everyone believed the same thing?

      Ever since the terror attacks on New York, the Pentagon and the Pennsylvania flight, religion has once again stirred discord at a time when we should be pulling together. Organized religion should be a safe haven, not a place to encourage acrimony toward others who believe differently. I know each religion has good followers and bad. My wish is that we as a country could respect each other. We live in a country where we have a constitutional right to believe and practice religion freely. I am really afraid that our country is headed back in time where religious intolerance is accepted. The older I get, the more I feel like we’re headed toward our own Dark Ages where free thinking and different religions are persecuted. Lord knows we don’t need to become a country that drowns women, who happen to be healers, simply because they are feared to practice witchcraft.

      Enough of my soap box. I just wish everyone happiness and time with those they love before those loved ones are gone. Whatever your religions or personal beliefs may be, just strive to achieve true happiness.

      Melanie

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