Are you annoyed or insulted that I didn't say, "Merry Christmas?" After all, I'm a white Christian, dontcha know. That's my grandbaby over there, in all her Christmas finery.
Here's the scoop, from my white christian perspective: we've so damaged the image of Christ's birth, and so changed this 'celebration', no one, let me repeat, NO ONE, should be offended by people wishing each other Happy Holidays.
Did you shop on Thanksgiving Day? Did you? Or, did you rush out on Black Friday - to make sure you got those all important 'gifts' for the family and friends? Was turkey dinner still warm on the stove, when you bundled up and ran out to get the best prices on toys, perfume, sweaters, jewelry, computers or other electronics... cause, after all, that's what Christmas is about, right?????
Not right. The people of the world, but especially here in the U.S., have tarnished the birth of Christ beyond belief. The people crying loudest about "holidays" being a substitute for "Christmas" are the very ones who think they have to have the most presents under the tree - at the cheapest cost. Every time I see a totally decked out house with hundreds of "christmas" lights... I wonder, "Did Christ really want us to treat his birthday as a way to display our materialistic focus? Is this Christmas?"
What happened to real Christmas? What happened to shopping between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve? What happened to the core emotional sense of being part of a bigger something - being part of a joyous occasion, celebrated with family and friends - sharing good food, dimming the lights in favor of candles? What happened to pausing to be thankful for the little things in life - our health, our friends, family, (including our pets), the snow that falls and coats the trees with a blanket of white, the grandmother who knitted hats and scarves, the kids who crafted homemade pictures to frame and display in living rooms, the neighbors who shared recipes and cookies - what happened to all of that?
Oh! I hear you. Yes, we still have it. It's on the Early Show from Halloween to Christmas Eve, and beyond. Sure, that's it. We've put our traditions and home celebrations on TV - shared by our reality TV stars. We're even commercializing that.
I'm tired of it. I'm tired of fighting the people who consistenly think of Christmas as a time to buy, buy, buy... who are more worried about they'll "get" than what they can give. I'm tired of people whining about a "word"... because Christmas is just that: a word. Holiday is a word. They mean the same thing. People celebrate whatever holiday is important to them, in much the same way, regardless of its roots. So, holiday is a perfectly fine word for what's happening right now. Christmas, as we celebrate it, is an invention - the actual religious celebration is something else. If you're celebrating the birth of the savior, Christ, do so. But, don't call it Christmas. That's a tree, and Santa Claus, and presents, and Rudolph...and all sorts of things, few of which have anything to do with Christ, anymore.
As far as I can see, we've crushed the religious meaning of "Christmas" and anyone who believes otherwise is welcome to leave a comment on this post. I celebrate the holiday because I have a lot of friends who are not Christians, and are not into the Christmas thing. They're into their own celebration, and while they may like all the decorations and the songs and the good cheer (there is still some of that around), they must wonder why Christians are all America cares about. Especially since America was founded on the ideal that we accept all faiths and religions.
Me and my friends, we respect each other's religious affiliations - and give each other hugs to celebrate the time of year. We share good cheer. We might even put up evergreens, decorate them to the hilt, and shop at Macy's to exchange presents. But, we don't believe in trashing Thanksgiving for this holiday. And, we don't believe Christmas is diminished by calling it a holiday.
So there, Ben Stein. I totally believe this statement you made recently, "I think it has a great deal to do with 'WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.'" Difference is, I think we need to stop trashing every other religion in favor of "God" and "Christmas" and start realizing "holiday" is what we're ALL celebrating, together... I'm saying we need to stop using materialism as our base for it... and we need to stop thinking Christmas is the be-all and end-all of November and December.
It's not. Everything goes back to "the people" and... people in America come from all sorts of backgrounds. If we can't be inclusive... we're in trouble. As for Christians getting pushed around... OMD! (oh my dog!) WHERE did that come from? Seems to me, Christians are doing all the pushing, folks.
You say Christmas, I say holiday. I don't deny you the right to use your word, please don't deny me the right to use mine.
p.s. I'll go way out on a limb here and say, I think Ben Stein only spoke out about this issue (Obama calling the tree at the White House a "holiday tree", to trash President Obama, whom he did not want to win the election. Bad form, Ben.