Thursday, December 22, 2005

This X-Man's X-Rant on X-Mas
OK. What gives?
When exactly did it become a capital crime to wish someone a Merry Christmas? (I'd like to note that this sentence originally contained no less than three F-bombs. But, in the interests of this message being passed along -- as several of my rants have, I'm keeping it somewhat family friendly.)
The big topic of conversation in this 'burg of late has been all about how "Happy Holidays" has replaced "Merry Christmas" because it's more politically correct. What's up with that? Since when is it wrong to be nice to someone?
People are actually AFRAID to say Merry Christmas to people now. People are so damned afraid to offend someone that they don't feel comfortable using what's become a secular phrase to wish them well at the closing of the year. Christmas has a religious antecedent and some form of religious connotation, but it's not a religious holiday. Not any more.
I realize that there are other holiday celebrations going on. Every single world culture has a year-end gift-giving holiday or festival. Every single one. The idea to celebrate the year's blessings by gathering with family, or by giving of yourself to others, is universal. The Japanese didn't have a name for their tradition -- it was simply called "Year End Gifts" until they appropriated the Christmas tag.
Christmas, as a term and as a concept, has outgrown Christianity. It's fully established itself as a secular holiday. Yes, there are religious roots to the name and to the holiday itself. But, it's grown beyond that. Let's face it...when Sears published the first Christmas Catalog and ushered in the age of commercialism, Christmas began pulling away from its sacred origins.
Heck, Santa Claus hasn't been a religious figure for nearly a century. How many people do you know who actually know the story of St Nicholas? But, every single person who doesn't know the Christian myth of St Nick can recite the lyrics to "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer". See what I'm talking about? The holiday has lost its holy luster. It's truly a secular day, which means that EVERYONE can take part. Hell, I know a Jewish person who puts up a Christmas tree every year because she enjoys the decorations. Another symbol bites the dust.
Christmas isn't the property of Christians any more. I'm hereby claiming the holiday on behalf of the secular majority. I'm hereby reclaiming the Christmas Spirit on behalf of mankind. I've drawn a line in the snow, and I'm daring you all to cross it.
There's nothing uniquely Christian about wishing for peace on earth and goodwill to all mankind. Especially not how the Religious Right sees Christianity at this point. So, I'm taking those principles from them. They don't believe in them, so they hereby cede claim to the Christmas holiday and the Christmas Spirit.
If someone happens to be a Christian and wants to actually feel that Christmas Spirit, more power to 'em. In fact, I'd encourage that, as it might inspire other Christians to actually begin adhering to the principles that they were supposed to believe anyway. Charity and peace and good will are fantastic ideals. Too bad the Fundies don't believe in them.
Don't be afraid to wish someone a Merry Christmas. Or a Joyeux Noel. Or a Happy Hanukkah. Or whatever. Claim a holiday, and live the holiday spirit. Not just through December, but throughout the year. Every day is cause for celebration, and occasionally, it takes a special day like Christmas to rekindle that fire in our hearts.
Merry Christmas!

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