Saturday, December 19, 2009

Defending Christmas

As I go about my Christmas shopping, buying gifts, wrapping paper, decorations and the like, I am saddened by the amount of people who do not return the "Merry Christmas" I happily send their way. I have been met with "Happy Holidays" and "Seasons Greetings" from folks with down-turned eyes. I had a few manage a "You, too" as they glance nervously around to see if anyone heard them.

I'm all for celebrating. I want everyone to have a happy, merry, enjoyable "whatever holiday" they celebrate. Although not Jewish or of African descent, when someone says "Happy Hanukkah" or "Happy Kwanzaa," I eagerly repeat it back to them. I sincerely want them to enjoy the holiday they hold dear. Why not? I don't have to celebrate it in order to want them to have a great time. I want to show folks respect by repeating back the holiday they celebrate.

I understand the belief that Christians adopted a pagan holiday and used it to celebrate the birth of Christ. I don't have a problem with that. The Christmas tree and presents underneath it have little to do with the birth of my Savior. Our family uses this to teach the Christian belief "it's better to give than receive." We use these pagan rituals and traditions to show each other how much we love each other. And, if I hear "It isn't really Jesus' birthday" or "How do you know He was born on December 25th?" one more time, I think I'll scream...

A friend adopted a little girl from Romania. She had lived in an orphanage for years. The records of this little girl had been lost, if they ever existed. My friend asked when the child's birthday was and no one was able to answer her. According to the logic of those who tell me that Jesus wasn't actually born on Christmas day, I suppose this little girl doesn't deserve a birthday celebration. After all, the exact date the girl was born is unknown.

My friend uses the date her daughter first step foot on American soil as her birthday. She also celebrates "Adoption Day," the day the little girl legally became her daughter. I love those ideas. I'm all for a good celebration! My friend's creativity regarding celebrating the life of her daughter also comes to mind at Christmas time. I am forced to answer questions I get from others as well as myself.

Does it really matter if the exact date of some one's birth is celebrated? I don't think so. Personally, I don't care what month or date my life is celebrated by those who love me. I feel honored they set aside a day to think of me and let me know I am loved by them. Because my daughter, Siobhann, was born close to Christmas, we have a "Half Birthday" for her in the summer so family and friends can celebrate because many are unavailable due to Christmas.

Does it really matter that a date is "used" for more than one purpose? I hope not. My husband would not get to celebrate his birthday every year because it falls on Mother's Day often. Another friend would never have a birthday - she was born on July 4th. I have another friend who would only get to celebrate every four years; he was was born on February 29th. His birth certificate reads March 1st, but his Momma knows the truth.

Should we celebrate all these things daily? Of course. The exact date doesn't have to be used for us to acknowledge important events. It is nice to have one specific date when family and friends can gather to celebrate, but the true meaning of those dates should live in our hearts on a daily basis.


Celebrate! Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Happy Kwanzaa! Happy Festivus, if you celebrate the holiday made famous by Mr. Costanza of "Seinfeld" fame. If you don't celebrate any holidays...With all due respect...Have a great day anyway! It won't hurt you any.

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