What is #Christian about #Christmas? EVERYTHING!
So, every year, as a practicing Buddhist raised Jewish, I post something about this topic. This year, with about one week until Christmas Day, I posted this on FB, and the ensuing “dialogue” was… priceless.
“Doesn’t matter what you think, want or believe, what religion you usually belong to, or what you like to claim/say about your….
“The following are not ‘American,’ nor is the USA a ‘Christian nation’ (although the Constitution has been overruled and hijacked to make it appear true).
All Christian items/aspects associated with Christmas count, and must include (note the word ‘Christmas’ in each):
—Christmas indoor or outdoor decorations OF ALL KINDS, including wreaths, garlands, ornaments, angels, 5-pointed stars, lights of all kinds, inflatables (regardless of origins), audio or video recordings, IF displayed/ broadcast/hung for Christmas
—Christmas hymns, prayers, services, worship rituals
—Christmas gingerbread houses and contests
—Christmas joy, cheer, greetings, piped-in public space music
—Christmas cakes, pies, pastries, puddings, etc.
—Christmas gifts, clothing, accessories, including pajamas
—Christmas-time films, TV or radio shows, podcasts, etc., that include anything on this list
—Christmas or Catholic imagery, e.g.: crosses, statues, mangers, paintings, sculptures, tapestries, books, stories, pageants, plays, costumes, fairs, sermons, letters, messages, birthday celebrations, anything else for and about Jesus’ birth, life, or death
—Christmas traditions OF ALL KINDS.
“Anyone unclear? Ask a non-Christian. We are all certain.
“We non-Christians are also more comfortable and feel appropriately respected when the above are acknowledged rather than disputed.
Someone I barely knew from high school (almost 50 years ago!) posted these responses, and our dialogue is included, below:
HER: “I am a Jew who has always LOVED the spirit of the holiday season including each and every item you outline on your grinch-like list…I am not a ‘denier’ nor ‘willfully ignorant,’ much less un-American…Rather, I look at it as a holiday for children, celebrating the spirit of giving, kindness and joy—nothing more, nothing less.”
ME: “My list was intended to get Christians to acknowledge the Christianity that permeates everything Christmas. People can enjoy, celebrate, believe whatever they want. Please just acknowledge, then, what it all is.”
HER: “Then I guess I’m not sure why the seemingly degradation of the season is even necessary…Why the need to enforce your personal perception of Christmas/Christians and the symbols people choose to celebrate the season, upon others?…Regardless of faith, each and everyone of us is entitled to celebrate in the manner they choose…I seriously doubt Christians need a lesson on your meaning of Christmas.”
ME: “It’s interesting to me that my presenting facts seems degrading to you, and you’re not even Christian. Strange, that.
“Meanwhile, in actual meaning-land, I was having conversations with people raised Christian who were denying the meaning or Christian-relatedness of ANYTHING to do with Christmas, calling it an ‘American’ holiday, and also saying: ‘it’s just a tree,’ ‘I like the lights,’ ‘everyone celebrates Christmas, don’t they?’ etc. I thought those sentiments and views were offensively, blindly privileged and absurd. That prompted my post.
“I am not ‘degrading’ anything. I am naming what is true and wish others would acknowledge it. It is injurious to those NOT Christian already made invisible at this time of year, especially, to be told that ‘a Christmas tree isn’t about Christmas’ and is ‘for everyone.’ Sheesh. That is all.
“Enjoy whatever you want, as I said. But, if you, ‘as a Jew’ (your words), want to ‘celebrate the season’ (winter? December? snow in LA?) with CHRISTIAN symbols, what about if you acknowledge that? Then, maybe try to understand yourself. Perhaps assimilation is your goal; many Jews have tried and some have sort of succeeded. The tactic of ‘blending in,’ thinking it would ‘save us’ from anti-Semitism, however well accomplished, has never worked, and I do not consider it a goal worth striving for, anyway.
“Asking/expecting/rewarding non-Christians to ‘celebrate’ Christian holidays is an oppressive tactic used by mainstream, privileged folks to undermine and degrade minorities. If you choose to go along with that and enjoy it, you have internalized that oppression and made it your own: they won. Still want to enjoy that? Go right ahead. SMH”
Also ME, quoting from this article: “https://www.nbcnews.com/…/secularization-christmas… ‘…secular Christmas is just religious Christmas with cuter clothes and better PR….disliking Christmas doesn’t mean I’m mean or a bad person. It means I’m not Christian and have no reason to celebrate a holiday that’s not significant to me.'”
and, still ME, still quoting, from another article: “https://theweek.com/articles/884660/no-christmas-not-secular ‘…There is nothing wrong with celebrating Christmas, or with finding deep personal joy in the Christmas season. Celebrating Christmas does not necessarily make one complicit in oppression. But expecting others to do the same, to erase our own experiences for the sake of preserving the magic of the season, is oppressive. Though many Americans can happily compartmentalize religious Christian observance and secularized Christmas cheer, not all of us have the luxury of doing so….'”
HER: “I didn’t say it was degrading to me, I said your “degradation of the season” was unnecessary—particularly coming from a Jew—and offensive to Christians or anyone who chooses to celebrate the spirit of the season…Have you ever observed the face of a child sitting on Santa’s lap?…Pure joy, wonder and amazement in all of their innocence…That is what Christmas is all about.”
Last, from ME: “Again, you completely misread and misconstrue my points and purposes. Let us end this useless miscommunication here.”
I say, let’s celebrate SCIENCE and the Winter/Summer #Solstice!
Winter/Summer Solstice commemorations are “secular” and inclusive, since we ALL live on this planet: December 21 or 22, and, June 21 or 22, every year.
If you’re in the mood to be “woke,” extend a hand to non-Christians by respecting our NON celebrations and enjoy your own however you want. Some non-Christians may even appreciate an invitation (with no pressure) to one of your celebrations: consider that.