This was written as a response to a FaceBook thread that I started complaining about folks forcing Christmas to be more Secular and inclusive. I wanted to share…
I got an email reminding me to say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas" and to play "White Christmas" or "Winter Wonderland" over "the totally inappropriate Silent Night" in order to avoid offending.
On the same day I got another email that listed all of the "pagan rituals" included in the "Christan" (sic) celebration of Christmas. Seriously? Someone sent that to ME?
In response to that thread someone else said, “Dude, if you have Santa visiting, have a Christmas tree in your house, or any of the other hundred non-religious elements of Christmas, you are already embracing a secular Christmas.” so I added this bit:
Which all sort of makes it ironic that you mention Christmas Trees as secular symbols. They’ve been used as religious symbols since the 16th century but have been recently "debunked" as pagan symbols.
How long does a tradition have to be celebrated before someone avoids trying to tear it down? At what point does a symbol transform meaning?
Does that mean that my father, grandfather and great-grandfather.. were confused about the symbology of the Bethlehem Star that they placed on their pagan trees? Or that the angels my grandmother hung on her tree actually represented the Germanic christkindl so she was a heretic?
The emails forget to mention that the pagans, like the Romans before them and the Egyptians before them used "sprigs" or "boughs" cut from a tree rather than the trees themselves. And they forget that, Martin Luther (the father of protestant reformation) is credited in some circles as creating the first Christmas tree completely and wholly as a symbol of the stars in the sky over Bethlehem and that he also gave rise to christkindl which translates as "first child".
In the same email that I’m reminded that an item that has been celebrated as a symbol of a Christian holiday for hundreds of years is pagan symbology I’m told that it is my duty to recognize and respect Kwanzaa but they forgot to mention that Kwanzaa was invented in California in 1966. Bit of a one-way street that.
If YOU had sent the emails <name> I would have just assumed that you were poking me with a sharp stick to get a reaction… the people that sent them though were serious and got what was probably an unchristian response.
Some days I enjoy FaceBook a great deal.