Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas is for Everyone

Thank goodness, but the war on Christmas seems to be experiencing a lull. I haven’t heard quite as many horror stories about the dangers of crèches or how Christmas trees are corrupting our youth and absolutely must be removed from public sight this year as in years past.

Which is wonderful.

As this war has marched on during the past few years, I’ve been puzzled by something. There are many who feel themselves somehow excluded from the festivities. Or, they feel that since they aren’t card-carrying members of a church, they aren’t really Christians, and therefore aren’t part of the season. While this is a natural sentiment, I have something to say to you; don’t exclude yourself from this joyous time of year.

While I’m not one of the aforementioned card-carriers, and I don’t attend a church, I do consider myself to be a Christian. Whether or not The Big Guy agrees will be determined at a later date. Until that time, I’ll continue to conduct my affairs as though He’s watching my every move.

It couldn’t hurt.

I have a strong suspicion that I’m not alone. While we may not subscribe to organized religious doctrine, we nonetheless have a personal set of standards that we adhere to. For example, I try to treat everyone as I would like to be treated. I bet you do, too.

And the worst part is, I can’t find anything wrong with that.

It just so happens that that personal rule is one of the only two rules that Jesus directs us to follow, the second being to seek out his dad, God, and try to understand his will. I’ve had much more success with the former than the latter. So, if for now, I can’t quite understand certain aspects of God’s plan for me, I’ll just do what I can understand.

But, I digress yet again.

Now, maybe it’s just me, but I can remember when everybody I knew celebrated Christmas whether they considered themselves Christians or not. Everybody joined in. Life’s pressures were set aside in a genuine effort to be cheerful, to bring alive the spirit of the season. I wonder what happened to that spirit…

I know it’s still there, but for some reason, there are folks who don’t want to participate in Christmas at all. Why would you not want to take part in a celebration that doesn’t really require much in the way of personal commitment? You’re free to put up a tree or not, sing carols or not, give gifts or not. In the past, if you chose not to participate in Christmas, you pretty much kept it to yourself, or if asked, you’d reply that you weren’t celebrating and that was the end of the conversation. No biggie.

But in recent years, there’s been a movement by some to eliminate any signs of Christmas, regardless of where they are. It began when some malcontents decided that there was some mythical separation of church and state in our Constitution that forbade Christmas displays on public property. Had there actually been some sort of official prohibition of religion, obviously no one knew about it until the ‘60’s, if the number of nativity scenes on courthouse grounds was any indication.

In fact, Madalyn Murray O’Hair, an atheist, sued the federal government over the harmless act of the Apollo 8 astronauts’ reading a passage from Genesis while orbiting the moon in 1968, thereby seeking to deny them their freedom of speech.

I’m glad to discover that folks who aren’t passionate Christians are starting to revolt quietly against this PC madness that would silence a good word or two in this Christmas season. I’m on a personal crusade to wish everyone I meet in a store a Merry Christmas instead of saying Happy Holidays. Overwhelmingly, I also get a Merry Christmas in return, along with a knowing grin. One fellow I spoke with over the phone yesterday said I made his day by wishing him a Merry Christmas. Now that’s what I’m talking about.

Anyway, back to my original point. If you practice a different religion than Christianity, I, nor anyone I know has a problem with it. If you don’t wish to participate in Christmas, that’s OK too. Although I liken it to deliberately refusing to learn how to swim, you’ll have much more fun if you do.

And to the hard-liners out there who are somehow offended by any shows of Christmas, I ask you, how can you possibly be offended by the idea of peace on Earth and good will towards your fellow man?
Humbugs have been around since the dawn of time, and not just at Christmastime. To them, we should extend a hand in peace and goodwill, and invite them to join in our simple celebration of one very special Life.

I wish you all a very heartfelt Merry Christmas.

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