Please tell me that it is not so! Is it, as I heard twice today. Is all the anger that we are hearing of in the news, reading of in the newspapers, and seeing at the stores, not really a rail against the retailers for saying "Happy Holidays" rather than "Merry Christmas?" Is it, as a devout Christian told me today; Christians truly believe and are upset because “They, “the Jews,” are making money from the Christian holiday of Christmas?” Please tell me, is this the true cause for all this commotion? Do Christians believe that all merchants, manufacturers, and marketers are Jewish? Are only “they,” the Jews, profiting from and commercializing the birth of Christ? Are all those that express “Happy Holidays” condescending, criminal, or coddling the Christians; or is it only Jews that do these dastardly deeds?
Is it true that in this free market society, one considered “Judeo-Christian,” and one that I thought was accepting and inclusive of more than Christians, people no longer espouse the principles that this country was founded on? Are religious freedom, free enterprise, and free speech, now a reason for protest and picketing? Are these principles no longer, as we prefer and prosper from? If this is true, than I am very confused and concerned!
Having had a conversation with a beloved Christian, one that states that unless one is Christian they cannot understand how it feels not to be honored for what they believe, for what they practice, and for who they are, I wonder how can this be. Is there a being alive that has not felt, at some time or another as though they were not being honored for their beliefs, practices, and for who they are? How must it feel to be black in a white world, Asian, in a world where Caucasian is considered the look of beauty, Islamic, Muslim, Moslem, Persian, Iranian, Iraqi, or Afghani living in America after 911. How might it feel to be physically less able in a world of the physically able? We are all different than others, yet, we experience similar.
If Christians think that non-Christians do not know how it feels when they are not acknowledged and honored for their faith, beliefs, race, or religion, I ask them to please imagine what it feels like not to be Christian in a Christian country, especially during Christian holidays. One can imagine, if they choose to, how it feels to be in the moccasins of another. However, in this recent conversation, the moccasins of empathy were empty. The beloved Christian continued, “When people express wishes of “Happy Holidays,” to a Christian, they are not acknowledging that this is Christmas.” She expressed that these supposed well wishes cause Christians, such as she, to feel angry, disrespected, hurt, fearful, or as though they are . . .?
I ask; is this not the season of many holy days, some holier than others, depending on one’s personal philosophies? Is this not the winter solstice, Chanukah, Ramadan, Kwanzaa, the time for atheistic, agnostic, Buddhist, Moslem, Islamic, any, and every other being’s holy days? Are these not the days in which we would wish any of them, all of them, no matter what their beliefs, the happiest of holy days, otherwise known as ??holidays?’
Merriam Webster defines holy as . . .
1: exalted or worthy of complete devotion as one perfect in goodness and righteousness
2: DIVINE “for the Lord our God is holy,” Psalms 99:9 (Authorized Version)
3: devoted entirely to the deity or the work of the deity
4: having a divine quality
No matter what your faith, are all days not holy? Would we not all wish to be honored each and every holy day? Would we not wish for the happiness of others and enjoy well wishes bestowed upon us? On each and every day, would we not wish to be honored for what we believe, no matter what our beliefs? Would we not wish for “happiness,” for one, and for all? Would we not wish to be acknowledged for who we are, as we are, even by persons that barely know us?
Are wishes of joy and happiness offensive? Why is it that Christians, those deeply connected to their faith, to the trinity, to their Lord Jesus Christ, do not choose to practice as the Lord preaches? Would the Christian community not wish to treat others, as they would wish to be treated? Yet, I was told that, as a non-Christian I could not, would not, understand how it feels to have others wish them “Happy Holidays!” I was told that the Jews are using this, the Christian holiday, to help only themselves; that they are patronizing their patronage.
I understand that billions do not celebrate Christmas. Yet, the millions that do expect non-Christian persons to be joyous when greeted with the salutation of “Merry Christmas.” Many assume and presume that because they are, many are, and some are celebrating Christmas, that we are all celebrating Christmas. Yet, not all of us are. Nonetheless, in America, Christmas is imposed upon us all, proposed to be the only celebration of importance in this winter season. Evidence of this is that, it is said, recently shouted, that the only proper greeting during this [shopping] season is “Merry Christmas” and that wishing others their “happiness” is offensive.
Today I was told that it is tradition, it is just, justice, and that, just for “us,” the chosen gesture must be “Merry Christmas!” Thus, I ask, "Is today, and are all days from November through December to be celebrated as though they are Christmas Day?” Does each of these days celebrate the birth of Christ? I thought that birth occurred only on a day and that Christmas was the celebration of that day. I have heard that some celebrate for twelve days. However, I did not realize that once Christians choose to begin partaking in the spirit of their Christmas consumption we must all consume solely for Christmas. I had no idea that once they began shopping for their spouses, siblings, supervisors, and sweethearts, it is then required that all shoppers must do the same.
I wonder and ask, be it Christmas or not, is it not true that people shop; they shop for all seasons, for all reasons, Christmas, being one among many. People need not shop to celebrate Christmas or any other commemoration. Yet, people are shopping! I thought that the stores were open to all, always, Christians, and those that are not. I thought that the stores were open to all, always, even those that do not celebrate this, or any other “official” holiday.
Currently, the stores, possibly the stated policies or practices of these stores, or those that work within the stores, seem to be the source of such controversy. Expressions of "Happy Holidays" heard by sales associates and displayed in shops rather than seem to be inciting and inflaming the Christian community. Yet, the stores, or the sales associates, do not know our practices, our faith, or our preference for a salutation unless we are wearing signs saying, "Please recognize me as a Christian, a Jew, an atheist, an agnostic, a Buddhist, a Shaman, a sage, or a scientist.” Nor do they have the time to discern who we are and what we want. They see us once or twice, and even then, only for a moment.
Would we wish “them” to judge us, label us, based solely on our physical appearance? Would we hope that, they will attempt to determine our religious practices or preferences, based solely on what they believe or on what they see. Without personal knowledge of who we are or what we believe how can they address us so as not to offend? We may be Christian, we may not be. Therefore, they attempt to honor us and honor a truth that is true for all of us, each day; they wish us happiness, on this, any, and every holy day!!!
This is what I was saying to the beloved Christian, then, it was said, "The Jews are making money on our holiday!" I was dumbfounded!!!!!!! Minutes later, after leaving this discussion with hopes that we came to some convergence, I turned on the radio, an AM station. The station was advertising one of their programs. They aired a clip, one in which a famous commentator is heard to express the same, “The Jews are making money on our Christian holiday!”
Wow, I thought! Are there not those of any, or many religions that are wealthy? Are some, several, and even scores of these wealthy ones not Jewish? Are only Jews profiting and are only Jews proprietors?
For me, this is fascinating! The folly of history seems to continue. Throughout history, Jews were denied entrance into states, colonies, and nations and even when they were allowed to live amongst the others, more often than not they were denied the right to own property, a business, and, therefore, went into businesses that allowed them to survive? Often banking, medicine, and law were the only opportunities open to Jews
The Jewish culture thrives on learning, comprehensively, discussing endlessly, looking, and listening, they learn their crafts well. Are they to be criticized for this? Can we all not choose to learn our lessons well? Can we choose to do well?
Who among us would not wish for abundance? Is there not abundance for all? Did God not, in his infinite wisdom, create a world that continually creates and creates? If we take cups of water from the ocean, will the ocean not replenish itself? Nature, God, creates and creates, consistently! The universe, nature, the ocean, and God do not know of depleting or deficits. Consider cancer, insects, and fungi; they grow, strive, thrive, and survive. Abundance abounds and is available for all. Why we would wish to covet our neighbor’s possessions? Oh my gosh, is this not one of the commandments? Yet, what of “them,” the “Jews?”
Please tell me that it is not so; are Christians protesting and picketing the stores, is their desire to be spoken to with respect, to be honored for their Christian faith? Is the reaction to the words “Happy Holidays” really a reaction to an erroneous belief that Jews are making money on a Christian holiday? Sadly, I asked.
I was greeted with grunts of commercialism, capitalizing on the Christians. This complaint comes from one that loudly voices her love of country, a country that promotes capitalism, free enterprise, and free markets. How odd this is to me. Did the early Christian settlers not create this prized system and is it not true that today’s Christians also prosper from these principles. Thinking of this, I ask, “If you do not appreciate the commercialism of celebrations, do not desire consumerism, materialism, and marketing manias, then why not choose your own path, without accusing, begrudging, belittling, or bemoaning others for their choices.”
Ah, those others, “them,” the Jews. I wonder was Jesus not a Jew and did he not profess, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone.” Is there a sin in attempting to honor another and all for who they might be and what they might be celebrating? Can any of us truly know the minds or motivations of another? Would it not be best to consider that just as any of us believe that we would, others, even “they” are intending to honor you?
For me, I know that if you are looking for a reason to be offended, you can and will always find one! A Christian businessman, Henry Ford, once stated, “No matter what you believe, you are correct!” If you believe that others are after you, that they are influenced by Satan, that they sin, if you believe that people are basically good, at times making unwise, unhealthy choices, you will be correct. What ever you believe, you first learn it, and then live it; ultimately, you experience it. Your beliefs are confirmed in everything you see, do, think, and are. For just as I can and do, you too will justify your beliefs, rationalize them, intellectualize them, and prove them true. For, “As you think [to your core, not as you say you believe,] so shall you be.”
With concern for thinking and being, in 1887; The New York Sun chose to respond to skepticism and cynicism with this editorial . . .
Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except what they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.
He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, and no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.
Now, Pray tell all “Virginia[s],” what do you wish to think and to be?