Merry Freaking Christmas

Christmas is a time when people of all religions come together to worship Jesus Christ. ~ Bart Simpson

Ok. I have taken a deep breath; I have counted to ten; I have counted backwards from 10; I have bit my lip; I have walked away. None of it is helping. I was just going to walk away from it this year and not engage but I tried. I failed. So here goes nothing…

Did a memo go out warning people that they would be stoned if they uttered the words “Merry Christmas” this year? I only ask because I’ve seen more pictures and status updates and news items on how people are making a stand and saying “Merry Christmas”. The hostility in some of them is barely repressed let me tell you. Did the memo go out that clearly said that everyone has to say “Happy Holidays” instead of Merry Christmas? Who sent that memo? Because, I didn’t get it and, well, I’m kinda pissed since now I don’t know what to say or how to act this holiday season.

Can someone, anyone, please tell me who told them they can’t say “Merry Christmas”. Please, it’s really making me bug-fuck crazy. And please, please, do not tell me it’s because of the jacked-up nonsense that Bill O’Reilly and Fox News are spouting about a “War on Christmas”. Really, please don’t. It’s not true. Continue reading

Church of Me

I’m not a religious girl. Never have been. Oh sure, I was a church-goer at one point but that’s cause I was a kid and I didn’t have a choice.

My parents weren’t particularly religious. Dad was raised Catholic but the only time I saw him in church someone was either getting married or buried. Mom was raised Protestant – Congregationalist to be exact. She was only slightly more religious than Dad. She took us to church every Sunday for a while. I think some of the older sisters were actually confirmed but I don’t ever remember making the jump from Sunday School to upstairs (that’s where the actual churching took place).

I went back to church several years ago. I started attending a local church just as it was being rocked by a semi-scandal and that was enough for me. My feelings about religion confirmed again. I guess you could say the thing that bothers me most about religion is people.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the comfort and solace that people find in religion and it’s trappings: community, camaraderie, kinship. I have a good many friends that are religious and their faith informs their actions and rises them up. I’m not talking about them. No, I’m happy that they have found a place of fellowship and trust. A place that gives them joy.

Good people, leading good lives. They act as beacons of tolerance, of acceptance, of love.

Not them. No.

I’m talking about the lunatics.

Those that use religion as a weapon.

Those that use religion to justify hate.

Those that use religion to carry out murder.

Those that use religion to carry out social justice.

The intolerant.

The superior.

The god warriors

Those who claim to know what God wants and who he favors.

Ah, no you don’t.

Cause if the hate and vitriol spewed is coming directly from God or Jesus or Yahweh or Mohammed then they can all, collectively, bite my shiny metal ass. Cause they all suck. Hard.

The Jesus that I studied. Yeah him. He was tolerance and love. He was a bit of a hard-ass on some things but the overall message that I got: love and tolerance; helping and sharing; open hearts and minds.

I live a good and decent life. I’m fair and honest. I don’t lie or steal. I don’t take credit for things I haven’t done. I don’t hurt people. I help strangers and friends.

I could, very easily, not be that way. It’s in me. I know it is.

But it is not the me I choose to be. I need no higher power to inform my actions; only me. I have to live in me and if I choose another path, I’ll still have to live with myself and I can be kind of bitch. So yeah. I’m good with who I’ve chosen to be. I answer to me.

Those people. They are not religious. They are evil.

The worst kind of evil. Evil that disguises itself as righteousness. But evil nonetheless.

And they’re giving religion a bad name.

Christian’s are bearing the brunt of my wrath since that’s my history. It’s what I was born into and semi-raised in. Make no mistake I have no tolerance for their counter parts in Judaism or Islam either.

Decorating the tree – my favorite part of Christmas

Today is a “busy” day. I have lots of busy to do: house stuff; Christmas stuff; work stuff; volunteer stuff. Stuff. All of it necessary and all of it demanding my attention today. I like doing stuff. Keeps me busy and out of trouble (mostly).

Looking forward to the Christmas stuff the most. I love this time of year, moreso now that I have kids. It was Dad’s favorite holiday – favorite! I think that’s where it starts for me.

Decorating the tree is what I enjoy most. Every year the kids get ornaments. Some from their grandparents, some from aunts, but mostly from Pat and me. In the ornaments we give, we try to reflect an event or interest they had that year, a chronicle of their lives. They love this day as well. I have saved every box. Each is labelled with their name, who gave it to them, and the date. I love their questions and comments. I love seeing their faces as they uncover a memory, see it grow in them, and watch with joy as they re-live a happy time or a effort well done.

With Christmas music playing in the background, the sparkling cider or cocoa, the laughter and the reminiscing, it’s really my favorite day of the season. It reinforces the family and traditions we are trying to teach the kids. Family is the basis of everything; of brotherhood; of tradition; of good will; family is the basis of Christmas. At least in this family.

It’s why I don’t understand the “War on Christmas” drama. At all. Not one single bit of it.

Have you ever wished anyone a Merry Christmas and had them snap at you? I haven’t. But even if you have, it only means you have met one of the eleventy-billion assholes that inhabit Earth at any given second. I have slipped up and said Merry Christmas to my Jewish friends. Know what they said to me? Happy Holidays or Peace or they’ll give me a blessing in Hebrew. Know what, I’m not offended and neither are they. We’re grown-ups. With enough drama in our lives already that we don’t need manufactured, Bill O’Reilly, hyped-up nonsense. Not today, not next week, not ever.

Anything that makes people stop, appreciate the world around them, focus on others instead of themselves, is a good thing, right? An ability to share our traditions and share the traditions of our neighbors; expanding the joy of the season to others is a positive, affirming action. A blessing. I spend the season counting mine, loving my family, and being good to my neighbors; I try to surprise myself.

Live your life your way. Open your heart to new and different ideas. Expand your idea of brotherhood. Plenty of things want to do you harm, don’t mistake the real ones for the manufactured ones. That’s when we all lose.

Me, I’m going to spend this season like I spend most of them, working and shopping and singing. I’m going to wish everyone I see a Happy Holiday, Merry Christmas, Peace, Shalom, or Happy Festivus. I never know what’s coming out until it’s already out. If I offend you, that’s your problem, stop trying to make it mine.