Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays
Before continuing with today’s post, I feel I must make this public service announcement. WARNING: The following blog post contains material that may cause you to think and reconsider certain behaviors. It has religious content, even though it is not religious in nature. It is more of a get-over-yourself-people rant, and if you are overly sensitive, you may wish to read yesterday’s post on Santa Claus or come back Monday. My feelings won’t be hurt, whereas yours might, and as we know I am a very sensitive man who would never hurt anyone’s feelings on purpose.
It’s funny that this blog coincides with a Facebook post I made the other day. I usually ignore all political and religious conversations. Mainly because the ones yelling the loudest about what everyone else should be doing are mere preachers of the Word and not so much Doers. As Edgar A. Guest writes, “I'd rather see a sermon than hear one any day; I'd rather one should walk with me than merely tell the way: The eye's a better pupil and more willing than the ear, fine counsel is confusing, but example's always clear.” Yet, Christmas is the loudest month for religious rhetoric nitpicking over things that really make no difference.
Currently, Facebook is rampant with pictures shouting “Keep Christ in Christmas” and “It’s Merry Christmas not Happy Holidays.” I have no problem with a person standing up for their beliefs. Actually, I have more respect for someone who takes a stand on something than someone who just goes with the tide of popular opinion. However, if your life doesn’t match with what you’re spouting off about, then I’m not going to hear a word you are saying. It’s easy to click “SHARE” on Facebook. It’s a lot harder to live what you say you believe.
One of the biggest gripes during December in America is how Christians are being persecuted by employers who wish them to say, “Happy Holidays,” instead of “Merry Christmas.” Really? That’s your idea of persecution? A Christian in Iraq is killed quite often, especially if he is converting from Islam. In Haiti, they are sometimes killed, as well. Houses are burned down and people are tortured. That, my friend, is persecution. Being told by the man who pays your salary to say, “Happy Holidays,” is a far cry from persecution.
A good friend asked if I didn’t agree that it was an infringement on their right of Freedom of Religious Expression. He knows I enjoy a good intelligent discussion where people can express differences without resulting in argument or name calling, like you big dumb doofus. Now, if that boss attempts to control your behavior once you’re off of his clock, then yes, it is. However, while you’re at work, it’s just business. That same boss won’t tolerate your use of foul language in front of his customers, but no one is screaming about a violation of Free Speech. Why? Because it’s just good business. Other employers won’t permit carrying a fire arm onto the business property, but no one is protesting against that employer for a violation of the Second Amendment. It’s business. More to the point, it’s his business and he wants to make a profit and please the most customers. He’s not persecuting you; he’s pleasing his clients. If he didn’t, he’d soon be out of business and you would be unemployed.
Most people don’t really pay attention to your words; they listen to your actions, instead. Whether you can say, “Merry Christmas,” or not, you can still live it and say it with your character and conduct. That will draw the most attention. I may not join in your beliefs, but I will respect them and you. I did not respect the people who stood in line to buy a Chick-fil-A sandwich when that company came under attack for its comments. That’s easy. You risk nothing by buying lunch. I do respect the person who works the food banks, homeless shelters, and orphanages. They don’t buy lunch; they provide it. They live what they preach by visiting the widows and poor.
Besides, there are several celebrations this month. Hanukkah. Kwanzaa. It’s not merely a time for a Christian holiday. “It’s not a holiday, at all. It’s a birthday!” You do know that Jesus wasn’t born on December 25th, correct? That may be how you celebrate this time of year, and that’s fine. However, not everyone does and as you want them to respect your beliefs, you need to respect theirs. In quite a few countries, Christmas is still a pagan holiday.
Now, before you get your religious frock in a twist, shouting how the sinners of the world are trying to steal Christmas, realize you stole it first. Okay, not you personally, but the Christian Church did in the 4th century. The pagan holiday, Saturnalia, was celebrated by the Romans from the 17th to the 25th of December. It was a weeklong party of lawlessness for which you could not be punished. At the end, some poor soul was chosen to be Lord of Misrule and was brutally murdered as a representation of destroying evil. Christian leaders adopted this holiday to bring people into the church. It’s not that non-Christians are stealing Christmas; they’re merely taking it back. However, keep in mind, lawlessness will be punished and let’s hope no one is killed in the celebration.
Christmas is celebrated in a wide variety of ways. How you participate is totally up to you, but no one is persecuting you for it. They’re merely enjoying it in their own way, and truly, that is okay. To me, Christmas is about family and the love between friends. It’s looking at life through generous eyes and realizing there is something more important than you. Don’t worry about holding onto words so much that you forget to grab hold of the people around you. They won’t always be there.
Whatever you are celebrating this month, I wish you a joyous time with those you care about surrounding you in the comfort of your home. May you embrace the spirit of the season and may it wrap you in a blanket of joy, peace, and love. Happy Halloween!
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