A Facebook friend posted a brief treatise on the holiday season which began with the line “Jesus is not the reason for the season for everyone” and described her dissatisfaction at feeling that the Christian holidays were being forced upon folks. This is my reply to both her and a few of her other friends who decided to respond vigorously to my simple question, “Why the anger toward Christians?”
Why can’t Christians enjoy their holidays freely, like every other religion? Why is “Christian bashing” the new national pass time? People go on about tolerance and acceptance, and yet, in the same breath, they disparage one particular religious following. It makes no sense to me. I know Christians seem like an easy target these days, considering how many folks have climbed onto the bandwagon. But it’s getting old. The display of a Christmas tree in an office setting is not a call to convert nor is it meant to insult. A decorated pine or blue spruce at this time of year has been used since the 16th century to celebrate Christmas. I have many Jewish friends and they don’t put up Chanukah Trees. It’s the holiday season for everyone and that includes Christians.
Tearing down one group’s set of beliefs does not make yours any more valid nor does one group enjoying their own lessen the value of yours. If someone wishes me Good Christmas, Happy Chanukah, or Happy Holidays, I do not take it as an affront. It’s not proselytizing to wish a person well. It’s someone simply wishing you well and enjoying their own beliefs. Think for a moment why that visitor to your office who questioned the “Holiday Tree” was incensed. There is no excuse for rudeness, I agree. But if he is a Christian, he knows that one of the symbols used by his religion has been altered because of political correctness and co-opted by those who may wish to negate his beliefs.
What if I took the Menorah and, in order to display it publicly, decided it should to be called the “Holiday Candelabra”, so as not to offend Christians or those who celebrate Kwanzaa or EID? What would the outcry look like in that case, do you think? And why would I ever do such a thing? It’s a beautiful symbol of light and divine inspiration. It’s a positive thing. Just because it is religion based, should it be hidden from public view? I’m a Christian, and when I see a lit Menorah, it touches me. I am not offended.
What is the answer then? No public displays of any kind that refer to anything remotely religious? Fine. Turn the world into a scene from “1984”. Happy, Merry nothing anymore.
Because that’s what you’ll end up with. If it’s wrong to display one, it’ll be wrong to display any. You won’t get rid of just the one. It doesn’t work that way. Is it realistic to think that just one religion’s trappings can be made to disappear? Think about what that looks like.
Religion is the opiate of the masses. That’s not the question. It’s a given. The question is, is that such a bad thing? Don’t knee jerk and say “Damn right!” right away. Really think about it. In the grand scheme of things, in this oh-so-brief time we have on this planet, is it so awful that folks find solace and a reason to be a better person in the form of a religion? Sure, plenty of atrocities have been committed in the name of religion, but many more have been carried out with no basis in it whatsoever. I would hasten to guess more in the latter category than the former, by far.
I agree with the poster’s statement. Jesus is not everyone’s reason for the holiday season. But he is for many, and he actually is what Christmas is all about. The reason we have a “holiday” season at all is because so many religious holidays fall within the time period. What I am is offended by how easily so many folks beat up on Christians. It’s not because I was raised as one but because I was raised to believe that we can all live together, maintain our distinct differences and still share joy with one another without having to default to some banal, generic seasonal greeting. I don’t want a flat, gray world. I like all the colors and beliefs and revel in the joy of those who celebrate, peacefully, whatever it is they celebrate, deity or no deity.
I hope you all enjoy this special time of year, no matter what form your celebrations take on. I wish you all a merry, blessed Christmas from the bottom of my heart. May you find peace, joy, balance, warmth, love, laughter, kindness and understanding and may you give, in direct measure, the same to everyone you meet.