December 13, 2010

And the Walls Close In On Christmas...

Always an interesting discussion.  And I usually lose a few people along the way, each and every year.

Ahh, yes... those damn immigrants again.

Sometimes it is okay to say that you don't have the answers.  Sometimes, it is the least damaging and most honest answer you can give.

It is always a fantastic discussion.  Anyone have anything to add?
I am interested in hearing from all of you on this one.

Oh, yes.  Mike had something to add:


Sam said...

I hope I'm responding to the Christmas discussion. I don't have time to comment on everything said (I'm training my kids to eat toast on demand - wish me luck) I will just give my own description of Christmas...

As a kid growing up in Halifax I was surrounded by many, many Catholic families. There were Protestants and Anglicans and Unitarians and such, and the Jewish population is large and quite well-liked as well, as far as I know...But my parents, who were both raised as Protestants, chose not to force-feed us with religion, instead focusing on a winter celebration of family and friends and a life with the people we love when Christmas arrived.

I remember being truly appalled at the punishing God some of my friends were being told to believe in. "What a sin" is not just an expression in some places. There are people who believe they will actually burn in hell if they shoplift a piece of penny candy when they're six. I feel a great appreciation that my parents didn't choose to "keep us in line" with that kind of indoctrination.

For me, though of course I know the history of Christmas, and appreciate that Jesus tried to show people how to do good for one another, the holiday is much much broader than that. It's about reaching out to those in need and those in your community, spreading a message of love and good will, and paying forward what gives YOU a sense of peace in the world. Most importantly, it is about family and friends celebrating one another. Wherever people are from and whatever their special holidays or religions might be, I think anyone could appreciate that. And those who criticize those of us who celebrate this "bastardized" version of "their" Christian holiday don't get it. I never go to church, and I likely won't unless I have a wedding or funeral to attend. But I believe in the power of the goodness in people. I think that's plenty Jesusy. Don't you?

...And all this coming from me, who was married to my husband by a Wiccan priest and priestess...(Don't ask. It was a bit more than we bargained for).

Anonymous said...

We know that the Christmas holiday is derived from many different events/participants/beliefs, etc, and has evolved over the years, decades, centuries, so I think it is perfectly acceptable for people to interpret it and celebrated it as they wish. While there are those who are devout Catholics/Christians, etc, and celebrate the birth of Christ and all of the religious traditions that go along with this time of year, I believe that most people see Christmas as more of an idea or a feeling. For many, it is also a time to celebrate family and togetherness and/or to help those in need in their community. For many, it is also a time to indulge in food and since it’s only once a year, spoil the kids. For children, this is such a fun, magical time of year, like no other. There is enough wonder and sparkle and beauty in Christmas without getting into what it is “supposed” to mean, because there is no specific answer. For me, even being the pagan that I am, the words “Merry Christmas” evoke warm fuzzies and just make me feel happy, not insulted or imposed upon. I think it’s lovely to be able to freely celebrate this time of year in any way we wish, without being judged for it and at the same time, respect each other’s beliefs and traditions. For me, one of the best parts of this time of year is experiencing how different cultures celebrate when it comes to food, gift-giving, decoration, music and symbolism. I encourage everyone to open their minds and hearts to other cultures and share yours as well. Say Merry Christmas to people, without fear. Celebrate the winter solstice (Return of Light), welcome the First Footing into your home, attend a German Christmas Market and have some Stollen, light a menorah or a kinara or both! You can participate, learn and enjoy all that this season has to offer, without sacrificing your own traditions. EVERYTHING in this world – religion, language, race, customs, traditions, warfare, technology, literature, etc – has evolved from something else. EVERY one of those things contains within them, influences from other people and places. So, do not try to define the holiday, just immerse yourself in it and feel the love and warmth that it brings.

Oversimplified? Yes, thank you for noticing.