Its Christmas eve, eve, or as my daughter Ashley calls it, Christmas Adam. Gary and I received a restaurant gift card and wasted no time treating ourselves to a nice dinner out. We have a couple of days off for the holidays, and if I had my way, I’d burrow myself into covers on the couch and not venture out till Monday. But, I know that won’t happen. We will, make the rounds of local family delivering gifts, hugs and well wished, and I hope little else.
I have managed to avoid much of the holiday insanity, a goal I try to accomplish annually. As with every year, church music took its normal chunk of time and energy. I enjoy it immensely, but I’m glad to give my vocal chords a rest and to put retire my hand bell gloves for the season. Yet, I can’t help notice insanity all around, not at Walmart, or the mall, but on social media.
Today I saw two opposite extremes on the “War on Christmas!!!!!!” The first was a propaganda style meme bemoaning the fictional war on Christmas. It mentioned an unnamed town in North Carolina, that may have lost a court battle, to display an overtly religious display on government grounds, a display that had been there, where ever that is, for 40 years.
After I rolled my eyes, I did the math. Prior and up to 1975, there was no religious display on the grounds of a government building, and guess what? No one cared. A few churches would have nativity or similar displays, and a home or two may have something in their yard. Showy displays of holiday decorations was just not a big deal back then.
I don’t get the whole war on Christmas thing. Local churches advertise their Christmas presentations on local tv, you can’t walk through Walmart without seeing someone in a Jesus Is the Reason Sweatshirt, and local fast food chains have satellite radio stations tuned to a Christian station that airs someone singing Silver Bells in worship music style….yes its as bad as you think. I’ve yet to see anyone prevent the holiday from happening, or from anyone from enjoying to their full religious minded heart. I’ve only seen some people asking for a bit of respect and understanding for the non-Christmas partakers.
Which brings me to the opposite end of the war on Christmas spectrum. As I mentioned in my last entry, I didn’t grow up keeping Christmas, so seeing the following article this afternoon brought up the memories of hearing these reasons to avoid the season at all cost. I get point #1 on that list. The commercialism of Christmas is ridiculous, but there are billions of Christmas celebrants who don’t go batshit insane over commercialism. Its mostly a USA phenomenon. So that point really doesn’t fly.
The second point tries to hammer home the fact that Christmas wasn’t mentioned in the Bible. Well neither was Thanksgiving, Mother’s day, or Memorial day, all three US holidays. Then they try to make the date of Jesus’ birth an issue. It’s common knowledge that no one knows the date, that’s not the point of honoring the event of his birth. One of their proofs, as if we can call the absolute ridiculousness of it proof, was that shepherds would not have had flocks in the field in December. There’s this assumption that Judean winters are hellish and too cold for any livestock with heavy wool coats to survive. I just looked up the weather for Tel Aviv. As I am typing this, its 3am there. The temperature is a frigid 54 degrees. Its actually colder in SC.
There’s more of course. On the surface the list seems to make sense, but as with the sheep example, they really don’t hold water. Yet these folks are determined to fight the war on Christmas; just on the opposite end of the battlefield of those who made the government building meme.
I, like most of the billions of people will be celebrating Christmas over the next few weeks, as our Orthodox partakers wait until January. I suspect that many will probably think all this warring over a holiday is a waste of time. Some of us are religious, some not so much, and some think “Meh, religion. Pass the eggnog.” Its still a delightful holiday, with so many wonderful traditions, and excuses to get together with family and friends, show a little extra loving of our neighbors, and gear up for our New Year’s diet.
So, if you, want to go full on baby Jesus, and place manger scenes all over your front yard, sing O Holy Night until your dog’s ears bleed, and be waiting impatiently for the pastor to open the doors of your church, be my guest, and may your holiday be merry and bright. Let me also assure you that you’ll get to do it all again next year, and the next and yet, also the next.
For those of you who are quite certain that Christmas is the epitome of evil, that those who celebrate the holiday with all its pagan debauchery and frivolous frolicing, and that God is going to make sure that we are punished for our wicked ways, I wish you a happy and joyous Thursday. Let me also assure you that you have nothing to fear from a celebration season, nor are your neighbors, your family members doing so a danger from God whatsoever.
For all of us, whichever you fit on the Christmas spectrum, as well as those of you celebrating the Winter Solstice, Hanukkah, Eid, Kwanzaa, and any celebration I missed, I wish you Happy Holidays and/or a restful rest of the week