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.    

                                                                        This could be God.


  1. Beautiful photos, I especially like the first one with the snow covered trees. Merry Christmas to you too and hope you have a safe and happy new year.

  2. Nicely written Christmas blog; good, decent thoughts. Very nice photographs. I think you have found God -- in your camera and, sometimes, on your keyboard.

  3. ....I like hearing Merry Christmas too and say it with feeling also. Beautiful photos..... Merry Christmas!!!

  4. Looks like a beautiful Christmas Morning, miss you guys, yes I confess, I'm a non practicing Catholic school boy from Phila. But I still enjoy the church esp during Xmas and Easter(gotta do that one, or else)

    Happy New Year

  5. And Merry Christmas and thanks to you too.

    a fan,


  6. Happy holidays to u 2; enjoying your blog with family in Stowe, Vt
    Ron Moloff

  7. Feliz Navidad from Paris,



  9. Beautiful photograpy! Happiness to you and yours through the holidays and always!
    Hula Girl

  10. what are you SAYING? You don't believe in UNICORNS? How could you? LOL. I hear what you're saying about religious people. If my father had a pet peeve, it would be hypocrites who go to church on Sunday, then turn around and lie, cheat and steal. He was convinced that one particular churchgoer stole his paint roller (or stepladder or something) that he'd loaned to the church for a painting project. Oh, that reminds me -- if my mother were alive, she's be 100 years old tomorrow. She got gypped, having her birthday on Christmas.

    Happy Kwanza.

  11. I forgot to remark on your Otter encounter. Very neat.
    Really cool behavior, and of course, great photos.

    And now your xmas eve essay. Coming off a very late night religion, etc discussion with my 25-yr old daughter (Jessie), yours was particularly timely. I. too, am a recovering catholic. The nuns had their way with me. But Jessie was raised without dogma, and is now dating a theologian, who seemks like a cool guy. Her interpretation of things mystical is incredibly adult, and I'm proud of her.

    So I assigned her a reading...your blog. So she'll know who I'm associated with sometimes.

    And by the might as well say Merry Christmas as anything else.

  12. Thanks Robin for your Merry Christmas message. As an atheist I agree
    entirely that how a person lives their lives is more important than any
    professed belief or non-belief.

    The photo with the light shining on the water is exquisitely beautiful.
    Took my breath away. Thank you so much for that......

  13. great shots, and happy new year and holiday to you too.

  14. Well, all I can say Ansella, is that your photography group had to have been struck speechless and so totally inadequate that words failed them because this piece of work is amazing. The music of course was absolutely perfect and the dedication to Hayden, really sweet.....but the idea that one small, petitie woman could capture so much beauty in each in every day.....well, I too am dumbstruck by the immensity of your talent. YOu have found your medium and you just need to go whereever it takes you. Your growth in the brief time you have been using the camera.....that is the amazing are there with the best of the best and you are doing it day after day after day and this work, combined with your writing....of course it is a book. It is a series of books and will have a very long follwing.
    Your work is so full of life. The composition,whether it is birds, animals and yes the otters were magnificant and I had no idea they were right here with art work, picture after picture after picture.
    In a way, it is good that I haven't been faithfull watching right along because it was seeing it with fresh eyes tonight and seeing how far you have come.....Amazing!

  15. > I really enjoy your blog.
    > LR