Sunday, December 10, 2006

It's Christmas time, damnit...

...and I, for one, am getting as sick and tired of people who try to turn it into an anonymous "holiday" as I am of those who over-commercialize it.

PARENTHETICAL DISCLAIMER-STYLE THOUGHT: I am not one who believes in the essential religious tenets of Christmas. Sorry about that. I am grateful that it has, to some extent, come to include a less-sectarian holiday meant for peace, love, sharing and giving. But just because I don't embrace the total package, don't think for a second that my "merry Christmas" greetings and associated good wishes to those who do believe aren't entirely genuine.

So this whole notion of "holiday trees," "holiday cards" and all the rest at the expense of Christmas makes me want to vomit. It is political correctness run amok.

The latest example comes from Seattle-Tacoma Airport, where the Christmas trees have been removed because some misguided rabbi whined to the authorities that he needed to see a nice big menorah there, too, or he would make a major fuss.

If any of the many rabbis I've known, all of whom have been quick to push for "tolerance" in so many areas of life, pulled a stunt like this, I'd be tempted to kick them in the baytzim. The same applies to Muslims, Buddhists, Zoroastrians and atheists.

We have become so selfish, so fearful that one group is gaining ascendancy over another, that we encourage various kinds of Thought Police to dumb everything down so no one can possibly be offended.

And our so-called "leaders" are quick to kowtow to "inclusion." Some idiots now talk about the "National Holiday Tree;" they are the ones who send best wishes on Muslim holidays to let all "good" Muslims know we don't equate them with the murderous Islamic thugs who want to destroy us.

PARENTHETICAL PERSONAL ASIDE: I don't equate the two groups either, though I admit I sometimes have trouble telling one from the other. But I know good people when I see them, regardless of their religion. I simply sense a strong element of hypocrisy in our political leaders handing out greetings for Ramadan. Especially when they will engage in all sorts of tortured syntax to avoid saying "merry Christmas."

Sadly, it seems my Christmas gift-giving this year -- something that brings me considerable joy -- will be restricted to contributing a couple of items to the Marine Corps' "Toys For Tots" drive. That's nothing like what I had hoped for, but it gives me some solace to know I can spread a tiny bit of happiness.

My take on the whole thing is this: even if one does not believe in the religion that brought us Christmas, the ten basic beliefs of that religion -- well, nine of the ten, anyway -- are so universal that they are well worth celebrating.

So. Take whatever good parts of Christmas you can apply to your life, whether it includes the full-bore, Midnight-Mass and praying-in-front-of-the-manger bit or is just an excuse to spread a little happiness by being nice to others.

The blessings of the season apply to everyone, whether they dig Jesus's gig or not.


lowandslow said...

The good news (I think, I hope) is that there is a backlash building. There are many of us, whether devout Christians or more reserved in their beliefs, who are beginning to say, "enough of this political correctness already".

Merry Christmas, Scribbs. :)

Interested said...

Walmart reversed their stand on the holiday lingo. Last year they X'd "Merry Christmas" for "Happy Holidays" and got major shit for it. This year "Gap" is feeling the heat with their "Peace, Love, Gap" holiday slogan, not wanting to offend anyone. This country is majorly "christian" as far as the holiday sentiments. Hey at least the Jews and Muslims have their own holiday stamps courtesy of the USPS.

DAL said...

A big, non-religious "Amen" to that, Scribbs.

betty said...

I agree. Last year when we saw advertisements for "Holiday" gifts instead of Christmas gifts, we refused to shop at that store. This year most have changed back because of the backlash.

It's up to us to see that Christmas stays Christmas..religious or not. We have to stand up for our rights.

Hope you're having a great Sunday. :)

Justfly said...

I am not going to be the popular one here!
There were five of us yesterday discussing the Happy Holiday/Merry Christmas issue.
Must be because we live in a very Politically Correct part of the word (Washington D.C. lives inside our state :) we all think it should be Happy Holidays. None of us object to it, all of us thought it should be that way. All of us discussing it were Christians who believe in Christmas.
If I were Muslin/Jewish/Buddist/etc I would not want Christmas shoved down my throat at establishments that accept my money, establishments that I support.
All of us that were discussing it are all very sensitive to other people's beliefs.
We all feel embarrassed that the airport is decorated for "Christmas" and no other holiday. I don't really think a public place that is supported by the state/run by the state should be decorated.
So....I do believe that it should be "Happy Holidays".
I am PROUD to be a Politically Correct Person!!!
That is my opinion and I am sticking to it!

MrScribbler said...

I understand what you're saying, JF. But for me, who is not a "believer," the Christmas traditions have been around since long before I was born -- which was after Jesus's birth by the way -- and I am against tearing down traditions just because some thin-skinned people are easily offended.

Public money goes for far worse things than Christmas. This nation was, like it or not, founded by Christians, yet we allow all faiths to live in freedom. That is as it should be, I think.

I'm sufficiently non-sectarian that my last Christmas tree had dreidls and a menorah on it. And chili-pepper lights.

Frankly, I'd be a lot less passionate about maintaining the tradition if it wasn't for the excess sensitivity displayed by those trying to make it go away.

Justfly said...

What exactly do you mean tradition? The tradition of commercialization of Christmas? I do remember the story of Jesus' birth in the manager. I don't recall reading how they decorated it with lights. I don't remember reading in the story of Christmas that it was important to decorate for Christmas. I don't remember "the Christmas tradition have been around since long before you were born -- which was after Jesus's birth" having a Christmas tree with many, many presents under that tree.
We as a nation have lost the meaning of Christmas. It is not about pumping up the stores so people will be in the mood to spend, spend, spend. Who is this burly guy in a red suit? Where does he fit in with the Christmas tradition which started right after Jesus' birth?
I do remember reading about a very kind man named Saint Nicholas that did very kind things. We have lost him in the celebration of Santa Clause. It has now become a holiday instead of a Holy Day.

Wow, after writing that I don't even feel like saying, "Happy Holidays" anymore!! :)

MrScribbler said...

I'll still go for the symbolic aspects, even if they deviate from the "real" story, JF.

I like the trees, and the lights, and the music (yes, even -- sometimes especially -- the religious music) and the "spirit of giving," even though I identify the latter less with wandering around WallyMart than with finding something that makes someone feel the love that went into selecting the gift.

I also love what the trees, decorations, music and Santa Claus do for children: it's one of the few shots of magic they get.

Thus, I'm all for it.

BingoPajama said...

Totally, dude. I just love giving things to people, although this year I'm so broke that I'll have to buckle down and write stories or poems or something. :-P

Hope your season goes well.

benb said...

Very well worded.
And yes, Merry Christmas!!

Elin said...

Az a yor ahf mirto, I live in Denmark.
We dont have 'Holidays', we celebrate Christmas, here!
Me and my husband travels to warmer countries, but we like the Christmas Traditions a lot.

A brocheh!

Anonymous said...

I was speaking with a Jewish friend of mine who says that they use "New Years" trees, which they set up on December 25. She made it sound like it was quite common among Jewish people, at least Russian Jews. So why did the rabbi throw such a fuss?