“I love the commercialization of Christmas because it spreads the Christmas cheer.” Whoa, Mrs. Palin. (It’s that woman again.) No. It. Does. Not.
She’d be hard-pressed to find a preacher who agrees with her.Palin also says, “Everybody should have the right to celebrate the season without a few bah-humbugs.” Yet there are plenty of things to bah-humbug about without signaling out secularists who simply want better boundaries between religion and the state. (Not to mention that “everybody” is not a Christian.)
Christmas is a painful time for a lot of folks, a time of unmet and unrealistic expectations, angry drivers, grumpy shoppers, long check-out lines, huge credit card bills, bratty kids, drunk uncles and unfriendly in-laws. Oh, yeah, and then there’s The Reason, which is different for us but the same for about 83 percent of America. It’s one of two times out of the year that many believers will don coats and herd the family to a brick and mortar church, where people will briefly feel goodwill towards the strangers around them before they get back on the roads and flip those same people off.
This isn’t the Christmas experience for all of us, of course, and not for the rest of us all the time. But you get the idea.
Let’s back up to Palin, though. This year she wrote a book, Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas. (Lovely personification.) She wrote it to fight for Christmas, because, she says, secularists don’t want to acknowledge “Jesus is the reason for the season.” Damn, those meanies.
But hold up. If Jesus is the reason, then why do we give presents to ourselves? Why do we love, honor and obey consumerism? And how does giving stuff to people who already have a lot of stuff spread his cheer? (I’m preaching to the choir, right?) Shouldn’t we just be giving each other a high-five and shouting, “Hell, yeah! We’re saved.”
Silly, I know, but so is this idea of a “war on Christmas.”
So some Christians want every American to celebrate December 25th in the same way and for the same reason as they do because, apparently, we should all be Stepford Christians. That control issue can be handled most effectively with a little counseling, IMHO. Those like Sarah Palin and Rep. Dwayne Bohac (TX) and Assemblyman Ronald Dancer (NJ) need to understand that they can celebrate and say whatever they want about Jesus at home and at church, and it doesn’t take away from their holi/holy-day if some of us don’t celebrate the birth of their savior, too.
However, believers and nonbelievers can be united in the spirit of Christmas anyway. Though you won’t catch us talking to the ghost of Christmas past, we’re very amenable to working together to create “good tidings and great joy.” Jesus Christ, if indeed he was real historical figure who lived a life of kindness and forgiveness, had a message. Help others. Be nice. Reach out. That’s our message, too! (Or for most of us, at least!)
Instead of pushing the commercialization of Christmas, perhaps we should buy our children one or two gifts that they will appreciate, and then allow them to decide where a holiday donation of time and/or funds should be made.
This list would be a good place to start. Then there are the theater tickets (support the arts!), the angel trees and the soup kitchens who need volunteers, just to name a few. (For more ideas, check out SixDegrees.org.) The last few years, we have, in addition to the angel tree, picked the American Cancer Society and our local homeless shelter, which relies only on donations and support from the community. So many ways to spread cheer, so little time.
Let’s not allow some Christians (ahem, Ms. Palin) spoil the true meaning of Christmas. The best gift we can give our children is to teach them it’s not all about them.