I just received an email entitled “Your First Christmas Card” and I admit it was the first time I had ever seen it – although a friend has said this particular email has been in circulation for quite a long time. But it contained a poem based upon “A Visit from St. Nicholas” or more commonly known as “Twas the Night Before Christmas” which was originally published in 1823 by an anonymous author (who I imagine is spinning in their grave at this particular adaptation).
Here is the text of that email:
Twas the Month before Christmas
Twas the month before Christmas
When all through our land,
Not a Christian was praying
Nor taking a stand.
See the PC Police had taken away
The reason for Christmas – no one could say.
The children were told by their schools not to sing
About Shepherds and Wise Men and Angels and things.
It might hurt people’s feelings, the teachers would say
December 25th is just a ‘ Holiday’.
Yet the shoppers were ready with cash, checks and credit
Pushing folks down to the floor just to get it!
CDs from Madonna, an X BOX, an I-Pod
Something was changing, something quite odd!
Retailers promoted Ramadan and Kwanzaa
In hopes to sell books by Franken & Fonda.
As Targets were hanging their trees upside down
At Lowe’s the word Christmas – was no where to be found.
At K-Mart and Staples and Penny’s and Sears
You won’t hear the word Christmas; it won’t touch your ears.
Inclusive, sensitive, Di-ver-si-ty
Are words that were used to intimidate me.
Now Daschle, Now Darden, Now Sharpton, Wolf Blitzen
On Boxer, on Rather, on Kerry, on Clinton!
At the top of the Senate, there arose such a clatter
To eliminate Jesus, in all public matter.
And we spoke not a word, as they took away our faith
Forbidden to speak of salvation and grace
The true Gift of Christmas was exchanged and discarded
The reason for the season, stopped before it started.
So as you celebrate ‘Winter Break’ under your ‘Dream Tree’
Sipping your Starbucks, listen to me.
Choose your words carefully, choose what you say
Shout MERRY CHRISTMAS,
not Happy Holiday!
Please, all Christians join together and wish everyone you meet
Christ is The Reason’ for the Christ-mas Season!
Pretty harsh words coming from “Christians”, right?
The world over uses this time of year (December/Christmas, etc) for religious festivities. It does not belong exclusively to the Christians. From the Winter Solstice to, yes, Kwanzaa (Ramadan isn’t even currently celebrated around Christmas) many countries use this time for celebration. So why is it wrong to say Happy Holidays and include all cultures, as opposed to saying Merry Christmas and including just one? And if these people have been sharing holidays for eons of time why is it now “taking away” the day from Christians? What happened to the element of Christian charity? Why is it not extended to anyone but other Christians?
As some of you may know, I have been studying Buddhism for many years now. I may not be a good Buddhist, but it is my chosen path. Yet, I still celebrate Christmas more out of habit or tradition rather than actual belief. “This is the time of year, though, when those of us who aren’t Christian, or who don’t celebrate Christmas, most feel our minority status.”¹ December is when Buddhists celebrate Rohatsu or the enlightenment of the Buddha. But I do not ask why there are so few meditating Buddhas or Bodhi trees among the reindeer and Christmas trees.
“But there is an ugly, bullying aspect to this [Anti-Christmas] dispute, in which the pro-Christmas forces are not only asking, reasonably, that their religion be treated with equal status and respect but in which they are attacking legitimate efforts at inclusivity. It’s this sense of aggrieved victimhood that confuses me: What, exactly, is so threatening about calling the school holiday a winter break rather than Christmas vacation?” [¹ and this were excerpts from Ruth Marcus’ excellent article What ‘War On Christmas’?]
I look at everything I do not understand as gravity. It sounds odd, but there is valid reasoning. I am not a physicist so basically I do not grasp the nature of gravity to any real degree. I may not comprehend it but I sure respect it enough to not try jumping off a bridge. So the same goes for Kwanzaa, Hanukkah or others. I may not understand it but I respect it and I respect your right to celebrate it. I mean, my birthday is frequently shared with Memorial Day. I don’t like war. But I am not on top of a skyscraper shouting that my birthday was “stolen” from me.
Our planet has just reached 7 billion people. I think it is way past the time when we should have been respecting each other. This lump of dirt and water may not be perfect but it is all we have. It is up to each one of us to make it a nice place to live.