Well, kids, it’s that time of year again. The wind is getting chilly, the grass is getting brown, the trees are stripping down, and the fat man in the red suit is parading through the streets with his big ol’ bag of goodies. I freakin’ love this time of year. I love winter. Snow is the best thing that this amazing planet can produce in my opinion. Fuck diamonds and gold and all that shit. Give me a snow day and I’ll show you someone happier than a dog at a cat rescue.
And frankly, I’ve always found Christmas as overrated. I ALWAYS volunteer to work on Black Friday. When I was in retail, I did it for the workout, running around for crazy people. I also worked so I had the best seat in the house to watch the crazy people kill each other without having to get in the middle of it. Oh, those were the times. Now, I can avoid all the crazy all together! Stay in the safe confines of my cubicle, silently listening to music and reading a book while everyone else is out running around like chickens with their heads cut off. Fine with me. The presents on the big day are usually either expected or sub-par. My best presents have always been on my birthday; special, unexpected, and awesome. The family usually has their big get-together weeks after the actual holiday, so they can avoid the holiday travel and spend time with their close family for the real day. So, for me, Christmas is just another visit to the parents’ house, the fiance’s parents’ house, and then home to ruminate in a food coma.
TANGENT UPCOMING: I got ahead of myself in the next couple paragraphs, but I said what I felt and have no intention of deleting them. They could be a whole new post, frankly, which I could expand on for a complete series of posts, but I don’t want to get that carried away. So you can skip the next two if you like and continue with the actual post after. Your choice.
When I was practicing Catholicism, it was a special treat to go to church. Not for the songs and standing in the back row because there were no more seats. It wasn’t about the decorations or even the actual celebration. (I NEVER understood why we never actually sang Happy Birthday to Jesus. I mean, it’s his birthday, and all we ever sang about was how lucky the world was that he was born. Why not actually congratulate him on being born in the first place, just like we do to everyone else? But I completely digress…) What I was always excited about was that Dad came with us for Christmas mass.
My dad was never religious. He was, and still is, very full of faith. He kept it to himself, and did not join us for church throughout the year. Mom has always had a problem with his lack of Catholic belief, but she’s had a problem with that about all of her family at this point. To be honest, the most spiritual time I’ve ever had in my childhood was when I was took sick to go to church and stayed home with Dad. I found that he would watch the religion programs on The History Channel, and afterward we’d sit and talk about what they meant; what certain passages of the Bible meant to each of us, what Jesus’ teachings meant in our time versus his own. It was educational, it was encouraging, and it was just plain nice. It was a one-way conversation like in church. I don’t think my mother gives Dad enough credit for how passionate he is about his faith, despite how reserved he is about discussing it.
SO, Christmas. The holiday of giving and peace to all men and all that happy sappy stuff. If you’ll notice the beginning of this post, and the little postcard picture which started it, you’ll notice an interesting phrase which comes up more and more often this time of year.
Put Christ back in Christmas.
I find this to be a very perplexing phrase for two reasons. First, the name is already in the holiday, CHRISTmas; what more do you want? (insert your laughter at my wittily sarcastic, yet very intelligent point, here)
Second, and much more seriously, is Christmas really the Christian holiday that Christians ought to be concerned about? I mean, let’s break this down a minute. The entire purpose of Christmas to non-Christians is to exchange presents and spend time with family. Basically, a huge birthday party for no one in particular. To me, that sounds very appropriate for Christmas, being the birthday of Jesus and all. Now, obviously, Christmas means a lot more than just presents and merry-making to Christians. It is the birth of the Savior, and so is celebrated as a religious milestone of the religion, a moment of success by God against Satan in the eternal battle for human souls they seem to be playing. Christians practically live this part of the holiday, though, placing up nativity scenes (on their lawns and their cars), going to midnight mass, singing Christian-specific carols, etc. Telling non-Christians to keep the Christ in Christmas just seems silly to me, and if one is actually Christian in any way (whether it’s only for Christmas or for the whole year doesn’t matter), then what is the point of the message?
What I find interesting is that it is still very prominent during the Christmas holiday to see Christian Christmas symbols everywhere; in Walmart, on the streets, in the churches and yes, even in schools! (Do NOT get me started on the whole ‘my kid can’t practice Christianity in school’ argument…) You know what Christian holiday I find has very little, if really any, Christian representation for in society anymore? Easter. The celebration of the resurrection of Christ, the entire purpose of the Christian religion, the foundation of the religion’s existence, has little to no Christian representation in society anymore.
Think about it. Easter has become the spring Halloween, with people in big animal costumes and TONS of candy. How often do you see a crucifix hanging on someone’s door in celebration of Easter? The closest symbol that I can say I typically see is a dove, and that is also reminiscent of rebirth, and not necessarily a Christian symbol of itself. We’re talking about the MOST IMPORTANT HOLIDAY OF THE CHRISTIAN CALENDAR! And it has been reduced to a cheap candy-day knockoff. Why is this not the holiday which Christians are screaming to come back to its roots? Is it because it is too gruesome of a holiday (you know, the whole torture a guy to death by nailing him on a tree and then waiting for 3 days for his corpse to reanimate can be a little difficult for little kids to grasp, again, without confusing it with Halloween antics), or is it simply that even Christians are forgetting the importance of their own holiday, giving in to the corporate image of Easter instead of upholding the true purpose of it?
And mind you, I’m not trying to say I want people to revert back to the traditional way of things regarding either Christmas or Easter. It just fascinates me that the technically less important of the two holidays of Christian belief is more protected than the other, and it seems the only reason why is because the phrase for protecting Christmas is just a little catchier. I mean, Put Christ back in Easter just doesn’t roll off the tongue as nicely, you know?