I'm not a big fan of Christmas. I just want that understood.
I kind of like the presents, but through at least my later childhood, and certainly most of my adult life, Christmas is been, in main part, a pain. As a Buddhist/Stoic (someday I'll write about the similarities) I don't feel much religious connection to the holiday; the Christmas shopping panic is annoying; as someone who suffers from some Seasonal Affective Disorder, it comes at a time when the lack of sunlight is getting me down, and making me more curmudgeonly than usual (as difficult as that might be to imagine.)
None the less, I don't find people saying "Merry Christmas" all that annoying. I'll even say it myself, or reply "and you" if someone says it to me.
On the other hand, however, there has been quite a bit of fuss --- driven by people like John Gibson and Bill O'Reilly --- about a supposed conspiracy to eliminate Christmas, the evidence being that they can find a few aggressive atheists who complain about crèches, and they've discovered that Wal-Mart is saying (horrors!) "Happy Holidays!". I believe they're also pushing boycotts of places that don't have the right Christmas greetings and sayings.
What they've done with this is to convince me that there really is an exclusionary aspect to their pressure about the right observation of Christmas. Last night, I heard an interview (I think it was O'Reilly, but I'm not sure) with someone who is organizing one of those boycotts, and who turned out to own a Christian bookstore, and who was saying that they wouldn't be satisfied until our government once again "recognized God".
To be frank, there is nothing that could push me onto the side of the ACLU and their fellows than to have a big push to insist on explicit Christian observance of Christmas by those of us who aren't Christians. In other words, I've got no objection to Christians being Christian at Christmas; attempting to compel people and corporations to observe Christmas in a particular Christian way is unacceptable.
(On the other hand, Foamy the Squirrel rants an admirable rant for the other side of the argument. Don't take a sip of coffee before starting it if you value your monitor.)
The Garlands of May Day
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