Cultures around the world celebrate holidays in the fall and winter, and for many good reasons. Some celebrate a new year and the approaching return of the sunlight, some celebrate Christ’s birth and resurrection, some celebrate peace and the restoration of the Jerusalem temple. Even in Persia, the holiday Sadeh celebrates the light, fire and energy that comes from God and resides in his creatures.
In the last decade or so, another tradition has arisen, and it is irrelevant and potentially harmful. It’s the idea of the “War on Christmas” propagated by some in the right wing media. They consider rephrasing the idea to “Happy Holidays” to be offensive.
Those who claim that this war is occurring forget a few important things: the U.S. Supreme Court still permits religious terms in the naming of holidays; Christians make up 75 percent of the American population according to the U.S. Census Bureau; and, the term “holiday” includes Christmas.
Christianity and its influence on our culture aren’t going anywhere. Instead of starting fights, Christians and non-Christians alike would be better off respecting one another and employing the patience and kindness they preach.
Their “opponents,” real or imagined, should also remember that hearing the word “Christmas” is not an attack, but a well wishing. Furthermore, those words do support freedom of religion, which is important even if you choose no religion.
Furthermore, forgetting the religious and traditional backgrounds of the menagerie of winter holidays can lead to an undue focus on gifts and irresponsible consumption. Happiness, while not free, is not dependent on the possession of objects.
The dark, cold winter is an excellent time to celebrate. It is a time to be indoors with family and friends, cozy and contented. It’s a time of reflection and tradition, things we all need to have happy lives.
For more information check out the Nov.22 edition of Davis Clipper.