Thursday, December 17, 2009
'Tis the Season
The holiday season is supposed to fill people with Christmas spirit, glad tidings, and fa-la-la-adry, yet I am meeting more people than ever who seem to be running low on ho-ho-hos. Not only is their cheer missing, they seem to feel guilty and apologetic for their deflated attitude. I must confess, I am among the sojourners of dolefulness.
Part of the problem is the retail world's vehemence towards profiteering from the gullibility of consumers. During a time when people should give to others because of caring and loving relationships, the public is inundated with marketing campaigns. Commercialism has saturated the intimacy of a sacred season, and the virus is spreading.
Christmas merchandise and decorations were going up in stores before Halloween. Across the aisles from skeletons, cauldrons, and witches' hats were reindeer, stockings, and Santa caps. Spooky laughter and clattering competed with singing elves. The Nightmare Before Christmas is taking on more relevance as each year passes. I can recall when the Friday after Thanksgiving was an unveiling of Christmas sales, decorations, and yuletide greetings. My mother's memories go even further back, as she recently recalled the magic of the holiday season's unveiling. "We would drive downtown on Thanksgiving day, and all the store windows would be covered with brown paper," she said. "On Friday morning, it was like Santa had waved a magic wand and changed everything." Brown paper was removed to reveal storefronts decorated for the season. The city's lights and decorations lined the streets. A parade beckoned the multitudes, and when the show was over, shoppers filled the stores. Retailers can't gain a huge impact on Black Friday when they start competing for shoppers a month ahead of time.
Commercialism, however, is not the only thing that ruins the season for me. Self-righteous Christians have started thumping their Bibles to the tune of the Little Drummer Boy, as well. Narrow-minded thinkers have joined in on a campaign to ban "Happy Holidays" in favor of "Merry Christmas." I suppose this is the follow up to putting the "Christ" back into "Christmas," or the opposition to "Xmas." Unfortunately, ignorance has led the way to a path of intolerance and misunderstandings.
Xmas is actually a clear and equal representation of Christmas. "X" is the Greek letter "chi" which is the first letter of Christ. Using the term Xmas is not a sign of disrespect, but rather an older homage.
Saying "Happy Holidays" to another person is not negating the impact of Jesus' birth. Instead, it carries on what I believe to be His message. The Jesus that I believe in would say that it doesn't matter what the day is called, as long as people remember the true purpose. His birth gave people hope and a reason to follow His word. He offered messages of unity and respect, regardless of differences. Even among Christians, the beliefs vary. To denounce another person's faith, is to disrespect a child of God. How can a true Christian go against the very teachings of Christ?
Whether someone just recently observed Ramadan, is lighting the Menorah for Hanukkah, will celebrate the Seven Principles of Kwanzaa, attends Christmas Eve mass, or has a merry Christmas, I wish everyone a Happy Holiday.
In the meantime, I will continue to sort out my disdain for the retailers and the holier-than-thous, and find my own light within to merge with the one above.