Thursday, December 24, 2009
Merry Christmas, Everyone
My husband informed me this morning that it's politically incorrect to say "Merry Christmas." So as not to offend anyone, the proper wish is, "Happy Holidays." He's a lapsed Catholic, so I suppose he would know. I wasn't raised with any conventional religion. We did have a god, the vengeful and frightening god, Dad. My mother was his number one apostle, or hench-woman, depending on how you looked at it. We children were the flock of devoted followers. When people ask me about my religious background, I say I'm a fundamentalist hedonist. Nonetheless, I say "Merry Christmas," and oddly, I mean it. I can actually tell you quite a lot of facts about Christianity, historically speaking. But I can't tell you anything about belief in Christ. I've never understood it and long ago fell off the belief wagon when it came to reverence for mythological beings. People's religious beliefs neither improve nor lessen how I regard them. It's their behavior toward others that concerns me. I would feel more connected to someone who was a caring, thoughtful, honest person, who happened to believe in unicorns, than I do to those who profess to be Roman Catholics, and yet can't be trusted. I had an acquaintance tell me recently with some reluctance that he is Baha'i. When he told me this, he prefaced the information by saying "Now I'm going to tell you something that may really put our relationship at risk." Not so. I know the person to be a deep thinker with terrific regard for other people. I feel safe with and even loved by my Baha'i friend. And yet, I know nothing about that religion. I just recognize human goodness and love. When I say "Merry Christmas," I mean it from deep in my heart, in a naive, childlike way that has nothing to do with Christ. It's a code for the genuine, deep warmth and love I feel when I say it. I say it with belief in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, Leprechauns, and the Tooth Fairy. Though I draw the line at unicorns, that's with the understanding that maybe I'll see one on the side of the road one day and change my mind. When I do, I'll write about it, you can count on that.
Thanks to all of you for your support this past year. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog posts, post your comments and your public and private following. Happy holidays, happy Hanukkah, jolly Kwanzaa, happy Festivus and, yes, merry Christmas.