I’ve written a lot about how my mental ticks give me the holiday blues. But let’s face it: Sometimes the mood is sparked by the hypocrisy I see in capitalism, religion and government.
Every year in church I hear someone talking about the so-called war on Christmas, where Godless people apparently do everything possible to tear the Christ out of Christmas, from the public schools banning Christmas decorations to people saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.”
Then I turn on the radio or TV and see suggestions from retailers that everything would be just fine if we would all walk into Best Buy and max out our credit cards on gifts for all the special people in our lives.
I’m a devout Catholic and I agree with those who say we need to keep the “Christ” in Christmas. But to me that means celebrating the birth of Christ and what his arrival meant for humanity. It does not mean putting stupid bumper stickers on my car and sticking my nose in the air to anyone whose holiday customs don’t fit the strict teachings of the Catholic Church.
It means repaying the favor Jesus did for all of us by being as good as we can be. It means helping out family even when it’s inconvenient as hell. It means being the best parent and spouse we can be.
It also means respecting the broader array of beliefs people have and how they observe it this time of year. I think it’s ridiculous to get offended when someone says “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” It’s not about people being Godless. It’s about people realizing that there are a lot of cultural AND religious observances this time of year: Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day. If someone wants to wish you happiness during all these holidays, including Christmas, you should pay it forward instead of getting all high and mighty about your own beliefs.
That’s how I see it anyway.
Of course, there’s the other side of the extreme: school systems and government offices banning Christmas decorations because it might offend people of other religions and cultures. Here’s a thought so simple it stings my tired brain: Why not festoon the schools and government buildings with decorations observing every December holiday? Teach the Christian kids about Hanukkah and Kwanza? Make December about embracing spirituality in all its forms?
I guess that would be too much work.
Happy Holidays indeed.