Wednesday, December 09, 2009
On the various reasons for the season(s)
Okay, so during this morning's Wake Up Alabama on CBS 42 (don't judge me; it comes on right before the Early Show), our girl Shanisty Myers introduced a segment about Briarwood Church's live nativity scene (which is actually pretty pimp--they have live camels) thusly: "Now, we all know the real reason for the season..."
Now, while this particular segment would certainly be considered "Christmas-Friendly" (thanks for the link, Holly, and also, I hate you), it could also be considered "newscast-inappropriate" if only for the fact that its facts are questionable: We don't know that everyone does, in fact, know the reason for the season, partly because we don't, in fact, know exactly what the reason really is.
"ACG, you're just anti-Christian and anti-Christmas and you probably say Happy Holidays and you're going to hell!" The last part may be more or less accurate, as is the next-to-last, but the first two are absolutely untrue. I happen to be a Christian, and I happen to love Christmas. Love, love, love. Love the lights, love the music, love the wrapping paper, love the sudden attention to peace on earth and good will toward men, love Love Actually and The Muppet Christmas Carol and Mickey's Christmas Carol (now available on mp3 via Amazon.com), oh sweet baby Jesus do I love it so.
But that's just the stuff I love about the season. I also like the holiday itself in the sense that I do, in fact, know the reason for Christmas. And I love that, too. I love midnight Mass, I love advent wreaths, I love O Come All Ye Faithful and Hark! The Herald Angels Sing and the high note at the end of O Holy Night (thank you, Beth Campbell, and may God bless you and keep you healthy for the coming Christmas Eve). I love both the solemn and the joyous celebration.
But I can hardly say that Jesus is the reason for the season, because there's a lot going on throughout the season that doesn't involve Him. In addition to Christmas, we have Hanukkah, Muharram, Kwanzaa, the Winter Solstice, and even, if you like, Festivus during the holiday/Christmas season. And for that matter, if we're really interested in celebrating the birth of Jesus, we'll be doing it in late September, when shepherds would be watching their flocks by night and all of the inns would be full (check it). So Jesus is really the reason for the season of early fall.
The upshot is: Learn to share, people. You wouldn't expect the checkout guy at Target to acknowledge your birthday, so why expect him to wish you a merry Christmas when he has no way of knowing if you celebrate Christmas at all? Besides, Christmas is one day (two, if you make a big deal out of Christmas Eve, which I always do). If you choose to have happy holidays, you get 19 days of happy (21 if you count New Year's Eve and Pan American Aviation Day). If you're willing to turn down 17 additional days of celebration just for the sake of laying dubious claim to the whole month of December, you're probably the kind of person who isn't going to have a merry Christmas anyway. So lighten up.
In the immortal words of this year's Gap holiday commercial, "Go classic tree, go plastic tree, go plant a tree, go without a tree... I mean, do whatever you wannakah and to all a cheery night."
That means all of you. Seriously. Relax and let it happen.