Saturday, December 23, 2006


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This year many people seem to be disgruntled and grumpy about Christmas. "All that traffic!" ... "All that shopping!" ... "All that road rage!" ... "All that stress!"

Yesterday evening when I went to my mechanic to pick up my car, he looked at me very wearily and said: "Girl, they better rename this thing Christmess!"

I told a friend of mine about that and he said: "Oh gosh, girl, it's true! Only Christ isn't into making a mess, so I'll just call it X-mess."

And these days when people say "Merry Christmas!" I wonder if they really mean it or if they are like dolls whose button you press to get them to say 'mama'.

Then there is that article I read about a situation in England where traditional Christmas cards (images of the creche, the wise men, Jesus, etc.) and traditional Christmas carols (Oh Come All Ye Faithful, Silent Night, etc.) are being replaced by modern day songs that have nothing to do with 'the reason for the season'. In fact the article even had a line in it: away with the manger.
It also mentioned that Santa Claus has taken over and that many children, when asked what Christmas is about or who it celebrates, call Santa's name. This kind of thing is becoming increasingly prevalent. The traditional elements of Christmas are slowly being eradicated ... because they are 'offensive' to non-Christians!

Er ... (whether or not this is the correct historical time that Christ was born) the fact is ... Christmas is a Christian festival celebrating and honouring the birth of Christ. Why is that offensive?


Anonymous The TriniGourmet said...

has nothing to do with non xtians has everything to do with capitalism. it's a marketing thing. more xtians are secularist participants in the holiday than religious..

re: offense, i don't take offense to xtians celebrating xmas but i do take offense at the assumption that everyone is xtian at xmastime and people sending me christ is king messages even after being told that i don't observe the holiday. so rude.

8:27 AM  
Anonymous Chookooloonks said...

Trinigourmet --

That's really interesting. I once asked a Jewish friend of mine whether it was inconsiderat to send her a Christmas card, and her response was, "No, of course not. Sending someone good wishes during a special season is always welcome. Would you be offended if I sent you a Happy Hanukkah card?"

Since the answer to her question was an unqualified, "no," I'd be thrilled to receive warm greetings from someone of another faith, I've never again hesitated to send Christmas cards to friends of mine, even if they don't celebrate the holiday. The fact that they don't celebrate in no way has an effect on whether or not I wish them peace and love.

I offer this just as another perspective for you to consider when you receive holiday greetings. Perhaps the spirit in which they were sent had nothing to do with insensitivity -- in fact, it may perhaps be just the opposite.


2:01 PM  
Blogger Kaivalya said...

Ironically, Santa Claus is more of a 'Christian' symbol than Christmas itself.

The first 'Saint Nick' was a 4th century Christian Bishop.

Christmas, along with many of its rites and customs, was derived from Pagan winters festivals and was only later associated with the birth of Jesus Christ.

Even the humble Christmas tree has its roots in pagan traditions.

My own belief is that, like anything else, Christmas can be as stressful as you make it. It's a matter of choice. If you choose to acknowledge it, the holiday season can have a deeper meaning beyond religous beliefs or popular culture.

Be kind to other people, be kind to yourself, be generous and compassionate and let that be your gift.

2:34 PM  
Blogger Elspeth said...

I agree with Kaivalya re the simplicity of giving of yourself during this season ... and hopefully throughout the year. I just find the whole interfaith thing so ironically divisive - not only at Christmas but in general.

3:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I appreciate the sentiment of Christmas, absent of the Santa-esque need to get something.

I disagree with the interfaith idea though. Many faiths that come together find they have common denominators of peace love and compassion to celebrate. I wonder if its the idea of "no faith involved" that makes this season of celebration commericial, cranky and messy.

I never felt disrespected by another faith, just folks who say "no faith, no way!" Hope it makes sense.


4:47 PM  
Anonymous The TriniGourmet said...

dear Chookoloonks. i think it's great that you asked your friend beforehand. i wish more people took such care. I personally feel that if a person is trying to express caring they will take the time to find out what caring means to the other person... and if that person says they would prefer not to receive X that they would respect that, as I am sure you would have respected it if your friend had said she would have preferred not receiving such cards.

I am not so uncouth that I will bite someone's head off if they wish me a Merry Xmas. I appreciate that they are not usually trying to be insensitive. However it still does not change the feeling that in the name of respecting diversity there is still little effort made to see things from the periphery. I personally think different cultural traditions are great and I also don't feel that they have to be stirred together to some common denominator. Differences are something to be appreciated and respected not smothered.

To me holidays are like birthdays. Special to those they belong to. Just as I take the time to remember my friends individual birthdays I appreciate them remembering my unique birthday and my unique holidays. I don't celebrate my birthday as a birthday for the world and send others birthday cards on my own day no matter how thrilled I may be. Sometimes the best way to show these expressions is to note the days that are special to others as well and to express them then. Yes it may take more time and effort, but that's the point isn't it.

5:19 PM  
Blogger Elspeth said...

I think I used the wrong word when I said 'interfaith' (which means unity of faiths). What I meant to say was multi-faith. Not that having different 'faiths' is a 'bad' thing, but to me the different religions often seem to be at war with each other and that defeats the purpose.

6:56 PM  
Anonymous Chookooloonks said...

Trinigourmet --

Thank you so much for taking my comments in the spirit they were intended. Thanks also for reminding me that I should probably continue to ask friends of mine of other faiths whether they would mind receiving holiday greetings from me. I think I probably used my friend's gracious acquiescence as speaking for all people of non-Christian faiths, which, of course, is unfair. I'll take much more care in the future.

And with that, I wish you peace and love -- regardless of the season. :o)


10:35 AM  
Anonymous The TriniGourmet said...

peace and love and a merry xmas to you ;)

4:03 PM  

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