||[Dec. 20th, 2013|09:44 am]
War on Christmas. Bah, humbug! Seriously, we need a cure for the thing that makes people feel better about themselves if they feel under attack. Why do do people keep falling for that carp? I know, I know, it’s all self-reinforcing, your beliefs about whatever are made more valid if you find a person or group that gives you constant feedback about how right you are. And an enemy outside the door makes that camaraderie powerful and strong.
Look, I’m an atheist who spent the first weekend training a Pandora station to play my favorite Christmas music. It’s pretty much all God, all the time, since I abhor darn near any Christmas song written after 1900. I celebrate the solstice – hey, tree, lights and other pagan traditions! Most of my Christmas cards say “Merry Christmas!”…mostly because I’m sending them out because I’m celebrating Christmas and that’s why I’m sending an expletive card. I’m not above “Happy Holidays” or “Seasons Greetings” if I happen to otherwise like the card, but I honestly don’t delineate between holidays here. Honestly I hope you have a great expletive YEAR. I hope it’s all unicorns and rainbows all the time for you. That’s what I would really wish. But I’m going to go with small, attainable goals, and just hope you make it through Christmas, New Year’s and whatever else you’ll be celebrating. Come Epiphany, you’re on your own – I don’t have enough mojo to make things good all year for you. I mean, clearly I can’t even do that for myself.
So, you can put as much Christ in your Christmas as you want. I don’t care. I don’t care if you wish me Merry Christmas. I don’t care if you ask God to bless me. I don’t care if you say you’ll pray for me. And by the way, do you know what the correct responses to those platitudes are, even if you don’t believe or agree with them? In order: Merry Christmas to you, too; Oh, thank you; Oh, thank you. That’s expletive it. If you can’t bring yourself to say Merry Christmas back, then you can substitute “Oh, thank you.” And make response genuine, because Santa, Krampus, Shelf Elf, Pennywise, whatever keeps you on your toes, is keeping a list.
I got forwarded an e-mail from a relative, asking for support in the War on Christmas, and to only shop in stores that use the word “Christmas” instead of “Holidays”. With a big giant exhortation to join "us" in being proud to say "Merry Christmas!" Because you know, the secularists are trying to make that illegal. (Wait, WHAT?)
War on Christmas, my big atheist butt. As an atheist, (currently ranked as the nation’s least trustworthy and likeable group of people, even below Congress. The latest poll has, I think, a Satanist having a better chance of being elected president than an atheist, because at least they believe in SOME kind of religion, thanks a lot, America, that warms the very cockles of my possibly soulless self. Sigh.) I have only one issue. One. Religious displays belong on private property. Your yard, your church, your private hunting grounds, your car, your person, wherever.
(Oh, now I’ve thought of the best worst Christmas sweater ever. It’s a nativity scene. Only the wisemen are separate and Velcro backed, so that each day you can move them closer to the manger. Which should totally be on a breast. Of course that means you have to put it on when Advent starts and wear it until Christmas, inching the wisemen ever closer. I suppose you could just wear it on Advent Sundays, but then you run the risk of not creeping out your colleagues.)
Anyway. Honestly, I don’t really care. They’re just statues to me, unless it’s a live nativity and there’s animals and then I’m all “DONKEY, I love donkeys…..yes, baaaaaa to you too, sweetheart, what no camels?” But, here’s the thing: I AM all about inclusiveness. If there’s only ONE, then yeah, you’re sort of promoting Christianity, or whichever religion made it onto the green, above other religions and implying that the state supports THIS religion. And the pesky Constitution sort of says “NO” to that. Plus, it’s not fair to only allow one. So, if you allow one, then you have to allow ALL of them. And then the town green looks like an expletive yard sale. Just light the damn tree and let’s move on, okay? (An ancient symbol that no longer carries any religious connotation – oh, someone out there’s offended, but seriously start at the beginning of this post again – and is just freaking pretty during this cold, dark season.) Anyway, I fully support your right to have a giant blow up nativity scene all over your front yard. (Although I may plant fast growing shrubbery come springtime.)
Besides, the “soul soldiers” defending Christmas against secularism (for the record, you Christians started that present giving/consumerist debauchery. We atheists probably would have just done with the tree, a firkin of good beer, and annual debate over the origin of lighting the tree) should be looking behind you. Because there’s the REAL war on Christmas. Your even more conservative brethren? They think that YOU are going to hell because you celebrate Christmas. That’s right. They think this whole gift giving and dressing up for a nice Christmas dinner and Christmas Carols, even the Baby Jesus ones, Christmas mass, all that is sinful. They want to blot Christmas out of existence. They succeeded for a while, in the early days of this country, but eventually got overruled. Well, guess what my friends, the uber-Fundies, the Neo-Puritans, have discovered Facebook and Twitter. And they’re getting themselves all worked up to bring you back to the true path…
(I’m now switching gears and talking to all of YOU now, the actual readers. The ScoldFinger ™ might be deployed.) In any case, for crying out loud, hold yourselves together for a couple of weeks and practice goodwill toward men (and women). Stop assuming that people are out to offend you, trample your rights, ruin your Christmas or attempt to ignore Christmas. You are responsible for your own joy. If you’re all busy being offended and pissed off, your joy will be tiny and stunted. And that’s just a stupid waste. (You’re making the Baby Jesus/Buddha/Hanuman/reindeer cry.)
You know what the biggest miracle of this season is, and the biggest truth? Your joy grows the more you share it, like some crazy holiday cornucopia of Happy.
So get out there, and get on with spreading the Happy.
Even to that expletive that just stole the parking space you were waiting for. I didn’t say it would be easy. Just do it anyway. You’ll feel better. If nothing else, because that jerk will now be worried that you’re planning some Dexter-esque revenge later on in the mall.