I was behind a car in traffic today, dark green SUV with a white sticker depicting a nativity scene. Mary and Joseph bowed over baby Jesus in the manger and they were shielded by the barn. They were just like the ones my mother used to put up every year when I was a child. I loved putting the little white shapes up on the windows. Stars and snowflakes and manger scenes with little animals all over the windows of the house. Our big bay window held the nativity, flanked on either side by plastic snow. She even took the screens out of the windows so anyone pulling in could see the scene. We'd spend an entire Saturday decorating.
Scrawled across this particular manger scene in large black letters was "Keep the Christ in Christmas". It gave me pause.
Keep the Christ in Christmas. That's so exclusive. Christ in Christmas. Even just saying it sounds like a club name, something we made up in grade school. Other kids couldn't play with us before they passed some silly ritual or liked exactly the same thing as us. The kids who didn't get in would sit by themselves off to the side and mope. They would come up with their own clubs sometimes and not let any of the rest of the kids in, but none of the kids in the first club wanted to join anyway. They had the original club. The Christ in Christmas club.
Sorry, Jewish kid, you're just not cool enough. What's that? You don't celebrate holidays because of your religion? Oh. Well, you're out, too, then. Can't have that. Your parents make you pray in the afternoons to some other god? Oh. No. No no no. No. Ew. Get away from us. Go do whatever it is your people do. We're the Christ in Christmas club. You can't belong.
What's sad is this excludes so many people from the positive message of Christmas. We're to love one another. We're to practice fellowship and good will amongst man (humankind, in my humble opinion). We give gifts to one another, something thoughtful for that other person. We decorate our houses and have spiffy drinks and awesome food and hang out together.
What... exactly about that has anything to do with Christ? I mean, I know the Bible says things like "love thy neighbor" and "thou shalt not kill", but one only has to look as far as the Westboro Baptist Church to see that the teachings of Christ have become corrupted somewhere along the line. The way people act toward one another and the clerks in the stores and restaurants they frequent during this time of the year is the exact opposite of Brotherly Love and the Divine Love of Christ everyone seems to think we should show. This whole "keep Christ in Christmas" thing sounds about the opposite of the love Jesus wanted humanity to have for one another from all of it I've seen in practice.
If this is about wishing someone a Happy Holidays, it's a catch-all way to wish anyone of any denomination the joy of the season at hand. Anyone who isn't Christian doesn't celebrate Christmas. But here's the thing. Why can't we have something that espouses the joy of the season that ISN'T Christmas? We can't I wish you a Happy Holidays? I'm not Christian, but I still wish you all the wonderful things about this season we as Americans are so wrapped up in. I am not Jewish, but I want them to be happy in remembering the miracle of the oil. I don't know the first thing about Kwanza, but I want them to be happy in remembering their heritage. I want pagans celebrating Yule to remember the plight of the two Kings. I want Heathens to remember the peace of the mistletoe.
I want all of fucking HUMANITY to remember that we are ALL HUMAN and we all deserve love and acceptance and basic human fucking contact. I want us all to stop fucking shooting each other. I want us all to start being a little kinder to one another. I want us to stop lying and cheating and stealing from one another. I want people to donate food and clothes to people who just don't fucking have it. I want them to stop caring WHY they don't have it and just give to someone else who needs it, regardless of their circumstance. I want people to stop being assholes. I want people to stop freaking the hell out over their stupid "Happy Birthday Jesus" cake and just be happy they can have cake at all. I want them to stop yelling at the poor girl serving them their dinner and just simply send the undercooked steak back to have it cooked a little longer. I want people to stop threatening toy store clerks over the hot new toy that will die out next year. (Furby anyone?) I want people to stop and take a moment to appreciate the things they have in life. THAT is what "Holidays" is. It's a wish from one simple, insignificant thinking mammal to all the other simple, insignificant thinking mammals of the world.
All these things "Christmas" is supposed to be? It's not just for Christians. It's for humanity. Simple common sense rules of loving each other. If that makes me a bad Christian, good. But it makes me a good human and I'm all right with that.