Thursday, December 22, 2005

To Merry Christmas or Not?

This may be a long post but there’s much to say.

I was at my second job today, which entails selling books for one of our nation’s major retailers. A woman came in and asked for the most recently published book. I’m not certain which that is but referred her to our bestseller list. She happened to notice the book entitle the War on Christmas. She began to talk about how that was such a horrible thing going on in our country.

I have a couple of comments, that my bookseller self could not explain to her.

First, although my blog takes many notions from Buddhism, I am not strictly a Buddhist. I have been a pagan, but craved the intellectual, thought provoking words that Buddhism provided. I was raised Lutheran but Christianity never quite spoke to me the way paganism did. So I am a little of everything. I don’t have a problem with that as all traditions have beauty in their teachings and studying each helps one understand the others in greater depths.

I digress.

I am offended by the idea that retailers should have to say Merry Christmas as a Christian. To say that we are taking away the Christmas out of the holiday because your local retail employee wishes you a happy holiday instead of Merry Christmas is absurd. Shopping is not what Christmas is about. Do I really have to explain that one? So why do the employees selling people stuff, even though they may know they are most likely out Christmas shopping have to wish people a Merry Christmas? Is it so that corporate America can remind people that to show their devotion to a certain religion they should spend more money?

I’ll say it again: Christmas is not about shopping. Therefore, what your retail or grocery store clerk wishes you or doesn’t wish you shouldn’t matter.

I am offended by the idea that retailers should say Merry Christmas as a non-Christian. After all, who says that I celebrate? If I’m a store clerk and I’m celebrating the Winter Solstice but not Christmas, so I have to say Merry Christmas? Where is my freedom of religion? Just because my religion isn’t quite so popular does not make it any less valid than yours. Happy Chanukah. Happy Kwanza. Happy Solstice. Happy Festivus.

Finally, it’s Ken Grandlund’s fault that I started this. His blog has a great essay on hope and fear. It made me think that this so called War on Christmas is yet another way to spread fear. What an ironic coup. Christmas is the holiday about peace and love, which leaves no room for fear. This season, Christians are afraid that the invisible other wishes to take their faith from them (as if such a thing would be possible) and those who are not Christian are afraid that they won’t be allowed to worship as they choose either.

It’s time to remember that we can act from our fear or we can act from hope and love. This is the season of hope and love and peace. There shouldn’t be room for fear


Blogger piksea said...

I blame Bill O'Reilly for making a Mount Kilimanjaro out of a non-existent mole hill. I say Merry Christmas to only those people that I know celebrate it. To all others I offer a "happy holidays." Not only does it compress all the possible permutations of celebration occasions, it respects the fact that religion is a personal thing and shows tolerance and acceptance for others and their beliefs.

I almost had an aneurysm yesterday when a friend sent an email requesting people to send "Christmas" cards to The ACLU to put them out of commission since they are part of the oppression of Christians and destruction of Christmas. What?!? I feel most comfortable when the cashier tells me to have a good day/night/weekend. They are making no suppositions as to what holidays I choose to celebrate as it should be.

Sorry! I'm almost as bad as these narrow-minded bigots who think the season is only about them and could care less about anyone else. I'm done now, I promise.

9:04 AM  
Blogger Bonnie said...

I think you're preaching to the choir. It's hard to just sit back and take this when it's like they want to pick a fight and they know what buttons to push.

At least if we can admit that sometimes we are being narrow minded, we know where are blind spots are and I think that helps tolerence, which is huge these days.

1:36 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home