Every December I have to resist writing an essay about how folks of other faiths have usurped Christmas, replete with counter-arguments on how they have it shoved in their faces every day for six weeks by retailers so what else did we think would happen? Still, it's annoying. For example, I think Hanukkah is pretty cool. An excuse to get together every night, cook yummy food, and who doesn't like ritual and candles? (Besides, blue goes better with my decor than red and green.) But really, how many Jews would appreciate my celebrating Hanukkah just because I think it's cool--not because I actually am celebrating the miracle? Not too many, I'm guessing.
Right now thousands of Muslims are participating in the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. I'd rather like to experience it--and I mean really experience it. Cut the hair, dress in white robes, pray all the while. But I'm guessing more than a few Muslims would require actual belief of those who make the pilgrimage.
And then there's Christmas, Holiday For The Masses. I know plenty of people, not just of other faiths, but those with no faith, who celebrate. And it's pissed me off for awhile. It just makes the whole thing more commercial. I mean, Christians have enough trouble keeping it a Holy Day without trying to keep up with the Rubens and the Husseins, too. (Wii, anyone?) Get your own Savior, I wanna say.
And then, in an early morning fugue, I realized that's the point. Other folks celebrating Christmas doesn't make it more commercial. It makes it more right. It makes it more...Christmas. It might even be the bit that makes me a believer.
I think Christ wouldn't care for a giant birthday party celebrating Him. He seems too modest, at least as popular culture would have it. But His birth somehow inspired an opportunity for vacations--at least in the Western World, for families to gather, to beautify our surroundings with decorations and lights, to send cards and give gifts, to support those in need, and for us to be nice to each other, at least for one day, regardless of faith or creed or color or religion or maybe even sexual orientation.
And that, Charlie Brown, is what Christmas is all about.