Thursday, December 18, 2014
Parallel Universe, Christian style
'Tis the season, and some Christians are once again complaining about the war on Christmas, which mainly seems to consists of people saying Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas. Never mind that the word holidays is a variant of holy days: they see blasphemy in it.
Well, people, suck it up. Some of us choose to make a greeting that honors all the winter holiday celebrants, not just you. Some of us are observing Hanukkah. Some of us are observing Yule. Some of us are observing Christmas. Some of us are observing other winter holidays, or maybe some combination of all of them. They are all related. They are all cousins with the same ancestry back through the ages. Everyone is worthy of having their holiday honored, not just Christians.
By insisting on using only Merry Christmas, Christians are demanding that we ignore all other winter holidays except theirs. I really didn't get the full impact of this arrogance until I spiraled out of Christianity about 13 years ago. It was not until I was not a Christian that I noticed the complete inundation with Christmas paraphernalia, the obsession with the holiday and the almost hysterical insistence on honoring Christmas and only Christmas. Try and find Hanukkah decorations or gift wrap. If you go to Michaels or some other craft store, you will find little, if any, representation of anything but Christmas in the decorations section. No Hanukkah crafts items for kids, very little blue and silver anything. I did find a blue Hanukkah teddy bear and a plush draydel in a pet supply store whose manager was Jewish.
The thing is, Christmas, Hanukkah and Yule are all festivals celebrating the return of the light as days get longer and we have more daylight. Jesus is really not the reason for the season as Christians are so fond of reminding us -- the winter solstice is. December 25 was already a Pagan holiday honoring the birth of the sun, and it was simply convenient to adopt the date -- and much of the story that went with it. According to some scholars, Jesus was born in the spring or summer because no one would make people travel for a census in the dead of winter, and because shepherds would not have been out watching their flocks in December. Various dates have been suggested by various ancients as March 28 (Clement) or November 18 or "a Wednesday" (Hippolytus). Some scholars think it was in the fall. We really don't know, but we can be very sure it wasn't December 25.
So, people, quit being jerks about it. I don't really think it's WJWD, if you know what I mean. Just enjoy your winter holiday and honor your guy by spreading a little peace on earth instead.