Just For Fun

fun
If you could ask for ANYTHING for your holiday (Christmas) gift this year, what would it be?

I’m talking material things … none of the “peace on earth, goodwill towards men” stuff. We all want those things. (And no political “presents” either.)

Instead, tell us about the expensive Mercedes, the 3-carat diamond necklace, the multi-million-dollar house on the beach …

Just for FUN!

“Merry Christmas” and the Spirit of Giving

Recently a Facebook friend wrote that he wasn’t going to stop saying “Merry Christmas,” no matter who it might offend. Comments to his posting were equally supportive, some going so far as to say it’s a bunch of “bullshit.”

It continues to amaze me that at this (supposedly) time of peace on earth and good will towards all, people continue to exhibit such animosity, hostility, and rancor towards those who don’t believe as they do.

I personally do not honor December 25th in any religious way. For one thing, although popularized as the date Jesus was born, evidence from all fronts indicates this is in error. But beyond that, I simply am no longer a “believer.”

It’s a long-standing tradition to give gifts at this time of year. In fact, kids have learned to expect toys and other goodies – to the point that people are urged to donate to “Toys for Tots” and other organizations just so the floor under the tree isn’t bare. And adults aren’t much better. They will spend money they don’t have simply to fulfill the obligation of the season.

giving

If people truly want to demonstrate the “Christmas” spirit, why limit it to words? Why not help others to have that Merry Christmas they speak of by giving to those less fortunate – expressed through donations of food, money to help pay the bills, blankets and clothes to keep warm. (And dropping loose change into the Salvation Army bucket doesn’t count.)

Pay attention to requests from your local paper about families in need. Buy a little extra when you go to the grocery store and drop it off at the Food Bank. Go through your stash of old blankets and take them to a local charity. In other words, take heed to that old saying: “Actions speak louder than words.”

“Season’s Greetings”

After spending over 15 years within the confining walls of Christianity, one day I ventured outside … and found the weather delightful. Unfortunately, certain individuals (well-meaning as they may be) are trying to drag me back inside — especially during this yuletide season.

To Christians, the last month of the year signifies only one thing: the birth of Christ. Facts be told, the date of Jesus’ birth is unknown. Scholars who have studied Jewish history believe it was more likely in the springtime, but this matters little to the faithful. For them, it’s not about facts or history. It’s about tradition. And it’s often about ostracizing those who refuse to go along with tradition, including using a holiday greeting other than “Merry Christmas.”

There is no disputing that Christianity is the dominate religion in the U.S. However, to use this majority position to try and force others to conform to Christian practices is simply wrong. Included in the makeup of this country are Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, not to mention smaller religions such as Ba’hai, Deism, New Age, and others. There are also a growing number of atheists.

Many of these non-Christians, including myself, prefer to use the term “Happy Holidays” because it is more religiously neutral. Moreover, since this time of the year includes another holiday — New Year’s Day – the greeting becomes more inclusive.

In 1865, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote a poem entitled, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Eve,” which included the words, “peace on earth, good will to men” (most likely taken from Luke 2:14). I was particularly moved by the third stanza where he wrote:

And in despair I bowed my head
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

Each of us needs to remember that we are all part of the human race — and our beliefs should never define how we treat one another. To allow hatred or enmity to take the place of good will to men during this (or any other) time of the year is, well, not very Christian-like.