are people who would deny me my Christmas.
am not a Christian. I do not believe Christ died for my sins.
I have neither been baptized nor christened. I have been in
churches for weddings, funerals, and perhaps a handful of
services with friends throughout my 32 years of life. Each
time I have been in a church I have felt it very important
to respect the church’s faith, even if I do not ascribe
since my first year of life, I have celebrated Christmas.
At first I received presents. Then as I grew old enough to
understand the concept of giving, I purchased and made gifts
for my family and friends.
year I have spent the 25th of December in the presence of
a tree, real or artificial. I have pinched, prodded and ripped
open hundreds of presents. I have eaten mountains of stuffing,
turkey, and mashed potatoes.
have watched weeks of Christmas specials, some more secular
than others, with each culminating in its own miracle. These
specials have illustrated the importance of family, of sharing,
of goodwill to your fellow man. It is important to give reverence
to this special season where we are all reminded that it is
better to give than to receive.
I grew up and moved out on my own, I learned that some traditions
were not shared by other families, “Dip” (known
as sauce to many) on pound cake is obligatory in my family.
Our stockings are old and worn. My beau’s family has
“sacks” rather than stockings.
other families, it is attending Christmas Mass. Never did
that myself. Not even once.
I understand how important each family’s traditions
are. Our family still talks of the year we couldn’t
get turnip because we celebrated in Kansas. Christmas dinner
was good, but it wasn’t the same.
to say our family hasn’t evolved with every new Christmas.
The year after my Grandma died, we knew Christmas would never
be the same. But even with her gone, we’d still have
may say because I’m not Christian, I can’t possibly
-- and the names we give them -- provide us with context and
continuity. Hanukah, Kwanzaa or Yule is not Christmas. They
never will be… and that’s perfectly fine.
I believe in Christ or not, society has made Christmas a very
special time indeed. Between the sales, the mall Santas, the
toy drives, the craft ideas… even the blessed fruitcake
--- all have conspired to reinforce the message that Christmas
is so many things to so many people… and there is no
other holiday quite like it.
Although the traditions vary from family to family and faith
to faith (or lack thereof) the season holds great importance
to all who participate.
there are those who would take away my right to say I celebrate
Christmas. The feel that their faith allows them to lay claim
to who can use the name and who cannot.
would take away all that is good and decent about my Christmas
celebrations, and that it is wrong. They would say that my
celebrations are an abomination and degrade the value of “Christmas”.
though my key motivations may be very similar – giving
to the less fortunate, building family bonds and spreading
joy – they would say “well, it’s not REALLY
Christmas you’re celebrating.”
fact, many might say I am devaluing the word “Christmas”
regardless of my actions. “Why not call it Festive Holiday
Season instead of Christmas?” they might say. “After
all… it’s not just semantics. For His sake...
His NAME is part of the holiday!”
I don't recall the Festive Holiday Seasons of years gone by.
I remember the angel on the tree, Good King Wenceslaus and
letters to Santa. I grew up with Christmas. It was always
all around me. And I have always felt a part of it.
also like to point out I did not ASK for society to thrust
the season upon us all. It is engrained in our Government,
our workplace, and our media outlets.
denying me the use of the word "Christmas" would
that mean my gift to a toy drive is not a Christmas gift because
I am not a Christian? Would fundamentalists reject such a
gesture of goodwill because I insist on saying I celebrate
you say “Put the Christ back in Christmas,” does
that mean the term Christmas should be removed from every
secular form of communications? Should it only apply to Church-sanctioned
events? Would religious leaders have a new racket, having
to bless evergreens individually before they could legally
be called Christmas Trees?
in a name? I heck of a lot. I’ll be damned if I’m
gonna call the 7 foot tall evergreen in my living room with
garland, ornaments and an angel on top a “Holiday tree”
you, the people who would object to me calling it a Christmas
Tree are assured by their faith that I’m damned anyway.
But I digress.)
Catholics and Protestants, Agnostics and Atheists, we have
a common understanding of what is in keeping with the “Christmas
Spirit”. By sharing the name of this holiday, we communicate
to all that the events we participate in have great importance
the phrase “I dropped the turkey in front of the whole
family right before dinner”.
consider “I dropped the turkey in front of the whole
family right before Christmas dinner.”
is worse? If you rob me of the use of the word Chirstmas,
you'll never really understand in the pit of your stomach
what I went through.
I’m not allowed to use the term Christmas when describing
my family’s celebrations, you might say I am prevented
from truly connecting to you on a deeper level. By removing
the term from my vocabulary simply because of my faith, there
is only so much I can share about this family rituals which
you and I may not share, but can equally understand.
There’s a whole subtext that gets lost by using a different
term. The term Christmas is bigger than Christianity. It spans
faiths and cultures. Because of the cultural importance of
the event, of its evolution throughout history, and its imposition
on non-Christains in society it has become a door through
which a better understanding of each other can be reached.
short: the word is bigger than any one person's, religion's,
culture's or society's concept of it.
that is why the term used to identify the joining of two lives
must be "marriage".