I am tired of everyone being afraid of saying Merry Christmas
Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas,
Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas Merry Christmas,
Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas,Merry Christmas,
For unto us is born a child which is Christ the Lord.
That is the true meaning of Christmas
First off, there's at least two holidays in our culture going on under the
one name of Christmas. There's a winter festival that is symbolized by
evergreens, holly, and mistletoe; by our culture's embodiment of generosity
in Santa Claus, and related presents; and by wintertime snow and sleighs.
There's also a Christian holy day, celebrating the birth of Christ, which,
for various historic propagandistic reasons, occurs on the same day.
Christmas, as winter festival, and to a lesser extent, Christian holy day,
is a pervasive holiday in our culture. Capitalism has a lot vested in the
"presents" aspect of the festival, so it gets remorselessly promoted.
Most Christians don't have any difficulties with this promotion. Yes,
sometimes you hear from time to time, phrases like, "He's the Reason for the
Season" or "Put the Christ back in Christmas", which decries the
materialistic aspects of the holiday. But generally it does them no harm to
have their holy day in everyone's faces. It reinforces their viewpoint of
themselves as the majority religion, and it underscores their superiority.
People who are not practicing Christians but who come from a Christian
background still usually have no major problem with Christmas, as they can
fully participate in the winter festival and skip the holy day aspects of
People from flexible religions like Hinduism or Buddhism have some
difficulties, but not major ones. Buddhism has adapted itself repeatedly to
local deities and festivals. If Bodhi Day, the celebration of the Buddha's
enlightenment, which usually observed on December 8 gets moved out a little
to December 25 - what harm is there in that? You can even string lights on
your house to symbolize the Buddha's enlightenment, no problem. Our local
Hindu community had their own ceremony honoring Christmas, as they see Jesus
as a holy man and prophet. NBFD for these folks.
Jews are in a different situation. Their 2000-year history of being a
minority religion has caused the Jewish tradition to be very strict in
non-participation in the majority culture's religious festivals. Because of
our own culture's confusion between the winter festival and the Christian
holy day, most Jews feel that even the winter festival portion of the
holiday is off-limits. They will say that "Santa Claus" is a Christian
saint, for example, and therefore something Jews can have absolutely nothing
to do with. And to some extent they are right - at one time, Santa Claus
sort of was a Christian saint, who had a saint-day some time near solstice,
and somehow he got mixed up in the big winter festival. These same Jews will
point the Christmas tree, and say, look, it's a *Christmas* tree, for
heaven's sake, the word "Christ" is in it, there's no way it can not be a
Christian symbol - or, if you point out that it was originally pagan, well,
why should it being pagan make it any more off-limits to them as Jews than
if it were Christian? So, most Jews feel that they can't participate in any
aspect of Christmas.
At the same time, Jews are confronted with the holiday at every turn.
Christmas is this 400-pound gorilla of a holiday. *Everyone* is
participating in it. It's one of the few times of the year where one's
religious beliefs and practices are out there for public comment and
discussion, even by strangers: "Merry Christmas!" "Uh, actually, we're
Jewish, but thank you anyway." Anywhere in out in the world, you have to be
aware that the entire culture is preparing for and participating in this
massive event. It can not be ignored. Further, and annoyingly, the winter
festival is tremendously appealing. Christmas trees are beautiful. Christmas
lights are beautiful. Christmas parties are fun. Getting presents is fun.
Sharing in a generous spirit is fun. Many Jews then respond to Christmas
with deep resentment. Many Jews hate, hate, hate Christmas with a passion.
One Jewish response in North America to the pervasiveness and appeal of
Christmas is to take what was once a minor wintertime festival, Chanukah,
and pump it up. I personally think this is a mistake. Why?
A. Chanukah, because it is a minor festival, can never be as big and
wonderful as Christmas. It is always destined to be a junior Christmas. It
will never be as fabulous as what everyone else gets to do, and therefore
will just make the larger culture's festival seem that much more appealing,
and the situation Jews are in seem worse.
B. Having Chanukah around means that Christians can give it a little lip
service, and then do their own holiday in a Big Way with a clear conscience.
An example is the extremely annoying practice of having 15 Christmas carols
at the concert, and a little sop to the Jews with "I had a little dreydel."
"Why should you complain, huh? You *get* a damn Chanukah song, so shut up."
A sensible Jewish response, I think, is to promote genuinely important
Jewish holidays at home and in the culture. String little lights and hang
decorations on your sukkah, so it looks as pretty as Christmas tree. Do a
big pile of holiday baking at Purim, and hand out Purim baskets of cookies
to friends and neighbors. Have a big family get-together at Passover - still
the most widely-celebrated Jewish holiday in North America.
My personal response is to indeed decorate the sukkah, and do holiday baking
at Purim, and get together with family at Passover - and still enjoy the
winter festival aspects of Christmas. I have done enough genealogy to know
that I have relatives at each generation going back 150 years that have
intermarried into the larger community. If we don't have a reason to
participate in the religious holy day of Christmas, I still feel we, as a
household, have some claim on the larger cultural winter festival.
I carry a lot of ambivalences about Christmas. I feel I've also taught many
of these ambivalences, for better or worse, to my children. I hate the smug
triumphalism of it, but I like the honoring of the evergreen, the marking of
the darkest days of the year, and the celebration of the spirit of
Thanks, Claire, for a very thoughtful and well-reasoned response. I come
from a Christian background, but I have no problem wishing someone whose
religion I don't know "Happy Holidays", since that also includes New Years
Day, as well as Channukah. It's easy for me to save Merry Christmas for
people I actually know. One of my teachers was Jewish, but raised in a
non-religious way. She dragged home a bedraggled Christmas tree one year, as
a child. Her mother, a Russian immigrant, had a fit when she saw it. Her
memory of childhood Christmases in Russia in a time of pogroms, was that if
men in the countryside had too much "Christmas vodka cheer", they'd grab a
gun and go out looking for hapless Jews who might be unfortunate enough to
be out on the streets at that hour. So it was a day and a season of visceral
terror for many Jews living in shtetels throughout Eastern Europe.
On Fri, 09 Dec 2005 04:01:14 GMT, "Claire Petersky"
You and those who share your opinion must have a lot of influence!
News reports state that outbursts demanding use of the term
"Christmas" forced, e.g. Target to change its holiday advertising to a
more "Christian" slant. No doubt other retailers are
facing a similar campaign.
It took decades -- literally! -- to get retailers to tacitly
acknowledge that other religions/belief systems also
celebrate the return of the sun, by whatever name they call it.
Personally, I think that these "Christian" pressure groups --
perhaps the same who constitute Bush's "base"? --
aren't acting very Christian or very American.
"My way or the highway"? That's toleration, diversity,
respect for the other? That's the American way?
I don't think so!
"While all other sciences have advanced,
government is a standstill -- little better
Out of curiosity, if the true meaning of Christmas to honor the birth of
someone, will you be giving gifts to friends and family? Or will you be
giving the money you would have spent on gifts to the church instead? The
wisemen didn't run home and give gifts to their friends and family, they
gave it to the newborn.
Of course all of this assumes that Jesus was born in December and not some
other time of year...but since just about everything associated with
Christmas was borrowed from other cultures anyways. the true meaning of
Christmas has more to do with spending time with friends and family then it
does with any events in Bethlehem.
More likely in the Spring. "There were shepherds abiding
in the fields..."
Point is, as another poster indicated, many, if not most,
cultures have some kind of celebration or invocation at the
darkest time of year, to bring back the sun.
Our early ancestors must have been terrified when they
saw the days getting shorter and shorter. In pre-historic
times, one wonders what kinds of sacrifices, rituals, etc.
they engaged in to bring back the sun.
Today, it's become a hysterical race to buy (generally)
useless tchatchkes for one's "Christmas list".
Some fed-up people, Christian or otherwise, have decided
not to feed Moloch, but instead to donate the amounts that would
otherwise be spent on Christmas "gifts" to charity. Think
of the good that could be done if that idea spread!
Stan Freber's hymn to the commercialization of the festival,
"Green Christmas", says it all! From an on-like article about the
great, the ineffable, the ultra-talented Stan Freberg:
"Green Christmas" with Scrooge recast as the head of a major ad agency
and Bob Cratchit as an account exec committing industry-heresy by not
exploiting Christmas every way possible in his ads."
Finally, good wishes to the REAL Christians. May they celebrate
the purported founder of their belief system with prayers and
Yes most likely the Shepperd's were in the fields in the spring instead
of freezing in the winter.
I though will continue celebrate Christmas at the traditional date. And
I will continue to thank God everyday for sending his son Jesus Christ
to earth for you and me.
My issue is with this nutsy political correctness of happy holidays to
make me feel bad because I celebrate the physical birth of the God of
So Merry Christmas
Chuckie in the frozen north zone 5
I thank God that he appeared in the form of Krishna and Rama for you and me
to to learn about his teachings. Us hindus got God to appear on our lands,
you only got his son.
Your God was born only 2000 years ago? A little late to the party isn't he?
Earth is how many billion years old? Must have been delayed because he was
visiting other cultures first...which also explains why he sent his son on
Chuckie, the introduction of "Happy Holidays"
was never meant to make you or other believing Christians
"feel bad". Please don't take it that way.
Au contraire, there came about (slowly!) the recognition
that other belief systems also celebrate a holiday at the
Winter Solstice, and THEY felt offended at the assumption
that only the Christian holiday should be mentioned.
So, in a country where diversity is celebrated, it
became somewhat "politically incorrect" to assume
that the Winter Solstice celebrations were only for Christians.
One almost gets the feeling "Oh, they ccould dish it out,
but they couldn't take it" <g>
You go right ahead celebrating your belief system the
way you see fit and don't take offense at "Happy Holidays".
Thank goodness you're in a country where the mullahs
can't tell you how to worship!
"The thing that causes the question
is the disparity between whatpeople
Bill In article email@example.com,
Yes thank God that we live in country where any religion can be, an
one can tell them they cannot practice their religion.
Chuckie in the frozen north zone 5
In that case, Io Saturnalia, Chuckie.
yes there are all kinds of different religions in our world an
everyone of them have different beliefs and celebrations and we al
must learn to respect that fact. i just wish that someone would come u
with a sign that said merry christmas as well as other sayings so tha
every sector of our religious communities are covered thereby stoppin
all the bad feelings and upset that people sometimes feel.
after all we do celebrate in many different ways and everyone i
entitled to their beliefs as well as their different celebrations.
chuckie i can understand what u are trying to say u dont like the wa
that a lot of the signs say happy holidays instead of merry christma
because to u christmas means the birth and celebration of the chris
child so it makes u frustrated to see those signs. u are very muc
entitled to your opinion but u also have to respect the opinion an
religion of other ppl which i think u do even though u do end u
getting frustrated and yup i dont mind saying Merry Christmas chuckie
hope u have a wonderful holiday filled with family, friends, love an
many happy memories. sockiescat
Here are a few thoughts.
First, when I bestow a greeting on someone, it is for THEIR benefit, not
mine. Get it? It is sort of like a gift. Therefore, if they don't
celebrate Christmas I see no point in wishing them such. Frankly, it just
makes the person utterng the greeting look like a schmuk when they make
incorrect assumptions. It is like when someone calls a lesbian couple and
asked to speak to the "man of the house." It would be like asking YOU what
you are fixing for Passover.
Secondly, what is more "politically correct" than some paranoid nuctase
insisting that private businesses include the word "Christmas" in their
advertising or greetings when there are several holidays which occure at the
same time and when some people don't celebrate any of these holidays?
Finally, it is entirely up to you if you want to feel bad.
Oh grow up. Nobody with half a brain is afraid to say "Merry Christmas",
especially to people to whom they know it applies. Season's greetings is
for situations where we don't know the faith of someone we're greeting and
wishing well. I can think of at least 5 celebrations that take place around
the same time as Christmas and these people deserve respect too.
Put your persecution complex away and have a super holiday!
Christmas. Originally a pagan celebration adopted by Christians. In
colonial America, the holiday was banned by Christians. More recently, it
has been co-opted by nut cases like Bill O'Crazy to pander to his audience
of dunces and distract attention from other matters like the
Say whatever you want, recognize not everybody is participates in the
religious aspect of Christmas.
Apparently especially not Christians.
Some of the larger churches will be closed on Christmas day because of
projected low attendance. So much for being religious.
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