Friday, December 12, 2008

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and all that jazz

Someone recently forwarded me an email that was supposed to have been written by Ben Stein all about how he didn't mind when people wished him a "Merry Christmas" or if there was a Christmas nativity scene out in public as long as there was a menorah nearby too. That was all well and good until it went off about Madeline Murray O'Hair and how the country went down the tube when we "took God out of the schools." At that point, I suspected maybe this wasn't all Ben Stein's creation and sure enough, posted the actual transcript of Stein's rant and it didn't include all that latter stuff.

Sometimes I wonder what all the hoo-ha is for.

Here's my take on this whole topic.

Personally, I'm happy to wish the people I know are Christian a "Merry Christmas" at this time of year, but I'd rather say "Happy Holidays" to people I don't know, because I'd frankly rather they have a Happy Hanukkah if they happen to be Jewish, or a Happy Winter Solstice if they happen to be pagan (or Celts). And it's easier than asking each person I meet or who checks out in line near me at the store what their faith tradition is (if they have one). And I'm not at all offended by people who wish me "Happy Holidays." In fact, I appreciate the fact that they're not assuming anything about me that they don't know.

I'm also happy to see Nativity scenes out in public but if they are put there by state or government entities, then they'd need to also put something that honors the seasonal holidays of every religion represented in their community out there too. If they're willing to do that, then I say "mazel tov!" If not, then they should stick to holiday lights and snowflakes and let the churches do the creches. (and I feel the same way about the Ten Commandments)

My understanding of Scripture tells me that God is everywhere, and especially in my heart, so if God is in my heart and in my silent prayers when I am in school (or on the job, or at Ingles), then God is still in school with me and no one can change that. And that's good enough for me. I don't need some football coach or some squeaky clean valedictorian to invoke God for me, thank you very much. I can do that on my own, whenever and wherever I need to.

So whatever your celebration this time of year - I wish you a good one.