And so it's Christmastime. The Holidays. A time of Season's Greetings.
But it isn't very merry or happy and I sure don't feel like greeting anyone. It's hard to get into the idea of "Silent Night" with the constant din of the season ringing in my ears.
For me it isn't the "commercialization" of the season, per se. Yes, it was quite depressing that all the major retail centers were in full Christmas mode before they even had all the excess Halloween candy on the discount racks. But in reality, I don't frequent such places enough to cause such malaise.
I've touched on part of the cause here before. But to be honest, our December problem is not getting better.
So, I'm going to emit a few thoughts, to let off some of the pressure and see if it gets me into the spirit.
Santa Claus. Seriously? What race is the Easter Bunny? The Tooth Fairy? The Great Pumpkin? St. Nicholas (the original 3rd & 4th century saint) was Greek and/or Turkish. The guy in the red suit in America has influences that are, shall we say, "non-Mediterranean". He has typically been portrayed as white due to the cultural norms of the time. If I go in a mall and I see Santa that is Black, White, Greek, Native American or Filipino, I'm not going to freak out. I promise that I'm going to be a lot more disturbed by being in a mall at Christmastime than I will be at what color Santa Claus is.
Happy Holidays. Seriously. There's a lot of them this time of year. In fact, between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day there are between four and 10 feasts, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and 4 Advent Sundays - depending on which Christian liturgical calendar you follow. There is also usually Hanukkah - which isn't Christian but is important to Judaism, which is pivotal to the understanding of Christianity and since Christmas celebrates the birth of an observer of Hanukkah (John 10:22-23), I think it's ok to include it. And while I don't celebrate Kwanzaa myself, I'm not offended by those that do and if someone were to politely wish me a "Happy Kwanzaa" I wouldn't be offended. I'd be happy that someone thought enough to say something nice to me instead of many of the other things I get called or told.
Fighting over what displays are and are not allowed in town. How old are you? Are you really that offended that something you do not believe in is on display in the town square? Regardless of how you identify Him, Jesus Christ is world renowned as a teacher, spiritual leader, bringer of peace and prophet that compelled people to love one another. Are you really offended by that? If so, don't live in the Bible Belt where people parade Him around like a trophy.
Are you offended that He isn't being paraded around enough? What personal insecurity might be causing that? Jesus was born in a stable and 2000 years later is still common in conversation and remains one of the most celebrated people ever. I don't think He's offended by not being displayed outside the courthouse. He has a way of getting into the places He wants to be (John 20:19)
This is a really long way around to say I have a lot of fatigue related to the bickering and arguing that accompanies this time of the year.
My request for this Christmas is just that we be a little more kind, a little more polite and a little more accommodating to each other. If someone bids you a polite greeting that you might not have chosen, be polite with your response and go on about your way.
In short, be merry, be happy, be whatever one you choose. But if you can't be polite, please be quiet.
Historian, self-proclaimed gentleman, agrarian-at-heart, & curator extraordinaire