Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Let Christmas be Christmas

I say let Christmas be Christmas.
I have no need to step on your holiday.
No squidmas, or newtonmas or giftmas for me.
No renaming or coopting of that which is holy.
Celebrate the birth of your savior,
that I might celebrate that which is holy to me.

I've never understood the need to place alternative displays on the town green or at the statehouse for that matter. It is your holiday, not mine. If I had an atheist holiday, then I might want to put up a display myself. But I don't. I do understand that a lot of traditions have their celebrations at this time of year, and want to be recognized too. I have no truck with that.

As for the town green and statehouse, yes, I grew up with displays in those places and I never understood the controversy. Separation of church and state I suppose. But I liked them there. Without them, how could the kids carry on the tradition of stealing the camels? Or the baby Jesus for that matter?

So I suppose if you are going to allow them to be put in a public place, then you have to allow all faiths and demoninations to put up a display in a public place. That or nothing at all. Yeah, that makes sense.

Wow, could you imagine if competing christian faiths disagreed on the specifics of the creche scene? If some thought there were 5 wisemen instead of 3, or if some used weasels instead of camels, and what about the catalonian caganer? Would we need multiple creche scenes put up side by side, each depicting the details in its own way, each taking up additional space on the town green?

And "Happy Holidays". That has slightly rubbed me the wrong way since I was a kid. Mom explained that it was a way of sending the same holiday card to all our friends, no matter what they celebrated. What's wrong with Merry Christmas? Or Happy Hanuka? Or Happy Kwanza? Or Happy Monkey? Or Happy Solstice or whatever? Why lump them all together? Don't you know your friends and what they celebrate? Can't you get the right card for the right family? And anyway, chances are they only celebrate one of them, so what's with the "Happy Holidays" anyway? Why not "Happy Holiday", and get rid of the plural? Except that it acknowledges that we all have our own special holidays to celebrate, and is kind of a scattergun approach to saying the world is holy at this time of year. I suppose that's right.

But, you know, I'm being far to serious today. Sure, I'd like it if we didn't make fun of each other's traditions. I'd like it if we all had something sacred and holy to hold onto all at the same time of year. And I'd like it if there was one true thing that we all knew and held onto that gave us hope and spirit. But liking it to be true, wanting it to be true, doesn't make it so. I find the hope and spirit in all of us and count myself among the lucky, the very, very lucky.

And I wish you peace in the coming year and good wishes to all.

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