It’s that time again. The sights and sounds of Christmas are everywhere.
And the controversy begins again.
Atheists attack anything Christmas and look under every rock and fallen leaf to find something with which to be offended.
In my book, that makes these people not Atheists, but God-haters. Atheists simply don’t believe. God-haters hate.
But for those like me who refuse to utter the politically correct “Happy Holidays” in favor of “Merry Christmas” let me impart a bit of the reasoning behind my greeting this time of year.
Yes, I am a Christian and the birth of Christ is the impetus and origin of the Christmas Holiday. But it is far, far more than that to me.
It is a time to remember not simply Christ’s birth in itself, but the birth of a new hope. A new promise. Of peace, love and good will towards all.
And it is an
excuse opportunity for family to gather and reminisce about our loved ones no longer among the living on Earth. To gather with new additions to the family and catch up with those who are distant the rest of the year, separated by miles, or sometimes simply by busy schedules.
The last of the explosion of the colors of Fall are gone. And (hopefully) there is snow. We look out at a bleak and barren horizon pale and colorless, save for the occasional oasis of evergreens and survey the empty sight. You wonder if the colorful palette of the Fall were simply a last bit of defiance by the trees facing dormancy, or a promise to return. I prefer to think the latter.
And we take a bit of the green inside. The Spruce, Pine or Holly represent both perseverance and the promise of the Spring to come. Rebirth. Renewal. The future.
Sure, to Christians, Christmas is about Christ. But when I wish someone a Merry Christmas, I am not demanding that they fall in line with my beliefs. No, far from it.
I am simply hoping that some of the wonderful feeling I get from holding the child of a niece or nephew for the first time, looking into the newborn face and seeing the miracle of life beginning, full of hope and promise and excitement can somehow be a part of their day.
That the feeling from carefree discussions of absolute minutia with brothers, sisters, cousins and friends and can somehow dance it’s way into the heavy hearts of someone to whom I wish a Merry Christmas.
That the sweet tears of joy that cloud my eyes when I look at photos from some long forgotten Christmas Day with my Mom, my Dad, my Grandparents and other loved ones gone to their final rest might somehow stir a memory of wonderful times past by utterance of the simple phrase “Merry Christmas”.
No, there is no malice, no sinister mandate, no hatred behind the simple phrase. It is something that brings me great joy, immeasurable peace and the fondest of memories that I am wishing for you.
A simple gift. Without strings.
And when my Jewish friends wish me a Happy Hanukkah, a holiday that coincides with Christmas, but is completely different in origin, I am not offended, as I completely understand that the wish is not intended to recruit me to the Jewish Faith, but to impart the feeling that I get with “Merry Christmas”. And I am greatly honored, as I understand.
And the same holds true of any other Holiday or Holy Day for me. Please feel free to extend the hope that my heart receives the same blessing you do from your Holiday. And I gladly accept!
So, pardon me if I wish you a Merry Christmas and you take offense. That is not the intent. And please understand if I wish you a Merry Christmas anyway – even if I know you don’t understand.
For I understand.