Friday, November 14, 2008

Has It Really Come This Far?!

Heather and Bonnie - this one's for you-

This was in the Letters to the Editor section of our newspaper today. I'll type it as it appeared and then offer a bit of my opinion at the bottom-

Take Care with Holiday Wishes

Now that the world is amazed and pleased at our expressions of acceptance and diversity, let's continue it during the next month and a half.

For many people in Eugene, there is no holiday in December that they celebrate. So don't wish a random someone "Happy Holidays" on your holiday. You don't wish someone "Happy Birthday" on your birthday. And you'd be befuddled if an immigrant from Vietnam or an American Indian gave you a celebratory greeting during their most sacred time of year.

So, think of the other person; someone who doesn't want to ignore you but has no connection to your holiday and consequently is put in an awkward spot. What should they say? "Thank you?" "Same to you?" Neither of those replies makes sense.

So be logical, sensitive and broadminded. And enjoy your holiday.


Hmmmmm, sorry folks, but I can only take so much political-correctness. To me, this is yet another example of the minority expecting the majority to bend to their desires so that no possible person could ever be offended.

I've been listening to the AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF SANTA CLAUS during my work-outs and enjoying this book quite a bit. It's really giving me a review and education of world history as the story begins when St. Nicholas was born about 300 years after Jesus, and takes us to present day. Of course, it is fiction, but the author throws in so many facts along the way, you realize you are learning quite a bit. Most significant in this case is why the holidays were set at the time they were - mostly, in an effort to make the darkest time of the year more bright, joyful, and celebratory. Of course, as a Christian, there is a much deeper meaning, but even the choice of the date for Jesus' birth is often thought to not actually be during the winter.

Along the way, though, some Puritans (particularly the Mayflower settlers in America) chose to boycott all holidays so that nothing would take higher precedence than the Sabbath. Interesting how one far extreme is now looking a bit like the other far extreme in this circumstance.

If this "letter to the editor" author had limited his caution to making your holiday wishes be just that - broad enough to include all holidays, I would have understood his point. But, to ignore that 99% of the population is celebrating something seems very narrow-minded in itself. If someone told me, "Happy Birthday" or "Happy (Insert any holiday I don't recognize)", I would be pleased, not offended. The "Happy or Merry" greeting is an extension of thoughtfulness towards someone else that I find very friendly, and connecting in this world that is often way too cold to each other. One year, John wished a sales clerk at our local mall "Merry Christmas" at around 4pm on Christmas Eve. She said, "Thank you, you're the first person that has said that to me all day". HOW SAD!!!

Let it not come down to the fact that we are so concerned about stepping on each others' toes that we avoid interaction all together- And with that said - "HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!!"

(P.S. - Interesting that this letter comes up now and not during Independence Day or Thanksgiving in which many people could be offended because they are not American citizens. Or even during Halloween - a holiday that many people choose not to celebrate. Would you guess it might just be because spirituality is a part of it- and somehow that is so offensive?????)


Growin' with it! said...

oh boy don't get me started. this culture. GRR. sad and hard to remember how desperately the people around us truly need God! the one they are trying so hard to eliminate from their surroundings.

welp, i'm wondering now how much longer they will play christmas music in the stores? cuz ya don't wanna offend anyone, right? pff.

Anonymous said...

Loved this post Stephanie! Thanks so much!

I'm going out on an unpopular limb to say that American was founded on the Christian culture. Christmas is a huge part of that. I know that many cultures and religions don't celebrate Christmas, however almost all of them have some sort of winter "observance" that somehow coincides.

When I was in Italy I celebrated all the Italian holidays - some of them I didn't know anything about. But I learned as much as I could. On Thanksgiving Day, when the rest of Italy was carrying on their business, so did I - it wasn't a holiday there. Though I did come home and make a turkey sandwich and be thankful.

And if I immigrated to Israel or another country with very different holidays, I would make a point to understand Hannukah and would be sure to respond with the same when someone wished me Happy Hannukah.

People who get offended when someone wishes them well, even if it is for something they may not believe is still a good thought. I have a new age-y friend who is always sending me "white light" - that's fine with me. It doesn't offend me but I don't necessarily send her white light back. And I tell her that I pray for her and she doesn't get mad. We know that we believe differently and we are still friends. I figure, it's all good.

OK - I may have to post about this myself... :-)

StephieAnne said...

Sounds like I have my favorite bloggy-friends for a reason!!!

Anonymous said...

This kind of stuff is hard for me to deal with, when something seems so common sense and then I realize there is no such thing as "common" sense and start to feel discouraged. I just finished accidentally clicking over to see who Barbara Walters was interviewing, was delighted to see the story was set in Bend, then disgusted to see the "pregnant man." I feel so sad right now about the depths we humans are sinking to, and how it must break our creator's heart as well. Why, oh why? (Well, yes, actually I know why, but can't help asking.)

I am finally beginning to agree with my parents, that the true minorities - the only ones it is becoming acceptable to single out and persecute - are Christians and all things Godly. But that is also part of our honor, for we are suffering as Christ suffered and yet we must still reach out as he did (and does) to people who are hurting and empty, and doing the best they can to fill the void. Every day we are one step closer to a glorious eternity. But right now I wish I could erase certain things I've seen and heard and be blissfully unaware. The stuff we read about Canaan, and Sodom and Gomorrha is starting to look more and more familiar here, and now. I am so grateful to be in the Light, to be able to just say the name of Christ and know that I am safe and protected from all that is Dark these days. Lord, please help me to raise children who can also be in this world but not of it, with a heart for reaching the lost! Amen.

Colie said...

Thanks for this post Steph. I agree with you and appreciate your response to the letter. You should write a letter to the editor yourself:-).

I will not stop saying, Merry Christmas! I will not stop greeting people and work hard to be a friendly person in the rare case that I offend. I doubt the secular Christmas music will stop - there is too much money in it for stores. But, it is unfortunate that our world is so lost.

Happy praying for our world and Merry Christmas!