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Posted: Sep. 8, 2002
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Question of the Week: 89 - 12/15/2002
Bah-Humbug! Are You Offended by Christmas?
Do all of the Christian-based celebrations, songs and religious programming at this time of the year irritate you? Do you, as a Pagan, feel slightly uncomfortable if someone wishes you a 'Merry Christmas'? Do you 'correct' him/her, just let it go (The season is just too short!) or counter with a 'Happy Solstice' or 'Merry Yule' without further explanation?
Or, on the other hand, do you think that PC (political correctness) has run amuck and that the efforts to please everyone -- and to offend no one -- during this time of year has virtually expelled any and/or all spiritual meaning from the season? Is Christmas just another secular/commercial holiday these days?
And finally, what does the Yule season mean to you and how will you celebrate? Will you also join in Christian or Jewish holiday events with family or friends? What do you love about this time of year and what always makes you want to snort, 'Humbug'?
| Reponses: There are 173 responses posted to this question.
|| Reverse Sort
| Christianity ||Dec 18th. at 7:10:04 pm EST|
|Caathy (Ontario, Canada) ||Age: 19 - Email |
When talking about christians stealing the solistice and the birth of (was it Mithras?) and/or saturnalia and what not, you've got to remember that when they decided the date of the birth of christ, it was potentially fatal to be labeled a christian (remember the joke: whats roman for torch? christian, they actually did burn christians to light the colleseums at night). They chose this date so that if they were caught practicing their religion, people would think that they were celebrating saturnalia or the solstice or what ever. It is also one of the reasons why christmas and yule are celebrated similarly.
Happy Holidays :)
| Not At All ||Dec 18th. at 8:02:52 pm EST|
|Samantha Fox (England) ||Age: 16 - Email |
I love christmas. the time, the feeling and the decorations. I still say merry christmas to people, because christmas is what they are celebrating, we can hardly get mad with christians saying merry christmas to us and then go saying Happy Yule to them, it would be a double standard.
My non-religious family celebrate christmas so i celebrate with them. that means celebrating on the 25th and not the 21st. I can do my own thing for Yule but the big family thing comes on the 25th and i for one don't have a problem with that.
I did spend the time leading up to Yule this year looking for cards that said Seasons Greetings or such on them but generally found them quite elusive.
The point of the season is good will to all, if they want to celebrate then then so be it. We can get on with our celebrations and let them get on with theirs.
Christmas is highly comercialised, even for a number of christians anyways. During the time in my pre-teens that i was a christian, christmas didn't change from before that time except perhaps for a trip to church.
Political correctness is too impossibly PC to maintain. Trying to please everyone will never cause anything but problems. We can be polite, careful and paranoid about insulting people of we can actually enjoy ourselves. The same for others, if christians etc worry anout insulting other religions all the time then they wpon't have any fun either.
Life is too short and the season is too short to worry about getting insulted. Roll with it and smile. Let it slide. A smile instead of a frown will make everyone happier.
Does that make any sense?
Happy Yule everyone
| Why Be Offended? ||Dec 18th. at 10:17:33 pm EST|
|Jo Ann Aelfwine (California) ||Age: 55 - Email |
Why be offended? Just because they took the stories of Mithras and others and renamed the god? This season is sacred all over the world as the time of the (re)birth of the god--whatever you name him. There is not a single thing in the Christian holiday tht can't be understood in a pagan context. If they choose to cheapen their version of the story with crass materialism (and it happens because not only do they ALLOW it, but they participate in it whole heartedly) doesn't mean that we need to follow their example. Just because they don't understand the meaning and the real depth behind their myths doesn't give us the right to judge them. In my 40+ years in magic and the craft I have found that there are few--and their ranks are getting fewer--pagans who understand their own mythology, either. Just enjoy. Do your own thing. Getting in people's faces doesn't foster good will and tolerance. And right now, America, and the pagan community, needs all of it that we can get.
| Bah Humbug Indeed ||Dec 18th. at 10:28:09 pm EST|
|Lisa (New Zealand) ||Age: 34 - Email |
Although I am not "offended" by Christmas, I do find the christmas carols (that seem to start in November) very irritating. I don't send out Christmas cards to people as I haven't been able to find anything appropriate and I wouldn't wish to offend any of my more zealous Christians relatives. I don't tend to wish people a happy festive season. That seems to satisfy everyone.
| Scrooge Or Not Too Scrooge...that Is The Question ||Dec 19th. at 12:05:00 am EST|
|Lavender Rose (Arizona) ||Age: 34 - Email |
The Christian holiday does not offend me only because it was the only thing I knew as a child. Although I was raised a Catholic, I always had a feeling that something was missing. As I matured and seeked out my true heart felt beliefs which I found in Wicca, I realized the true meaning to the old phrase, "too each their own". Yes, it is much to commercialized and materialistic; the children are no longer experiencing the true meaning of their Christian holiday...expectations are much too high and will only continue to be raised by technology and the cost related to it. What is the use of celebrating it when you don't know the true meaning? It worries me that the children who are to be our leaders will have expectations far greater than can be realisticly reached because not everybody can keep up with the "Jones's" next door. I pray that as they mature, they realize what's happening and have the power within to keep it under control with their own children. As the holidays approach each year, I wish everyone "happy holidays" which can be translated into just about every religion celebrating this time of year. With all the turmoil happening in this world regarding religion, the ol' saying "too each their own" has more meaning to me now than it ever has. Life is too short to judge someone based upon their religious beliefs.
| Holidays Come From The Heart Not The Name ||Dec 19th. at 12:26:13 am EST|
|Wog (East Lansing, MI) ||Age: 46 - Email |
I have never been offended by anyone sharing a joyou feeling or well wishes. Our world (and we are a part of it) needs all the well wishes of good people it can get. I grew up in a very non-religous family but Christmas was celebrated as a time to reunite, share, laugh (don't underestimate the power of laughter welling up from a loving spirit)eat and in general re-discover the bonds that knit us into a family.
My wife now has been raised atheist and does not really understand my "Pagan thing" or any religous "thing" for that matter but she does understand love and caring and joy and that is what the holiday is no matter what name you call it. My own view is that each must find their own path. I share my beliefs and joys in the godess with my daughter but I also try to teach her about other religeons. When she gets older I may even take her to some churches to see what is what. I have no doubt that she will find her path and travel it as joyously as I travel mine.
On a related note, I have often thought that one of the things that has given the christian view such prominence is the music. Say what you want about the views but the Christian faith has produced some extremly passionate and moving music that people can hold and touch and make their own. Much of it is not powerful not because of the sentiment or arrangement of notes but because it resonates deepl and passionaletly.
If you are not going to live your life passionately, what's the point.
Bright blessing and a merry Yule,
| Merry Christmas Isn't The Only Thing To Say ||Dec 19th. at 1:23:05 am EST|
|Joan (Pittsburgh) ||Age: 19 - Email |
I think that Christmas is way too commercialized, it is all about how much you can spend on your loved ones. I am sorry but if money bought love I wouldn't have much. It seems that no other religion is regconized when the "holidays" are mentioned. There is Haunnakah, Kwanzza, and most importantly for us Yule. I wish that the world was more accepting of diversity, just open its eyes and look around and see how everything falls so beautifully in place and seems to work out just fine.
Blessed Be and Happy Yule
| Christmas Is Too Much ||Dec 19th. at 2:25:15 am EST|
|Ronnie Vestal (Germany) ||Age: 25 - Email |
Merry Met, it seems to me that this time of year is full of mixed blessings. On the one hand you have the oppertunity to enjoy Yule and to be with good friends. On the other hand you are beaten down by all of the Christian based cheer. I don't have any problem with being wished a Merry Christmas, as not all people know what my personal faith is. I do grow weary of it though when that is all that I hear. I tend to feel isolated and alone in my beleifs when I don't hear someone say Merry Yule. Even still I don't grow angry about someone wishing me good cheer, and for most people that is all the phrase means to them. So on that note I wish everyone the Brightest, and most peaceful Blessings to you, with hopes that there are many more to come. Merry Yule!!!!!!!!!!!!!
| Frustrated! ||Dec 19th. at 2:51:24 am EST|
|OwlStorm (Sydney, Australia) ||Age: 16 - Email |
I don't have a problem with Christmas per se, but I do find some decorations and shows to be offensive, mainly if they involve the nativity scene, or a song about Jesus. I mean, it does make me uncomfortable, and I can't help feeling resentful of it; because of certain Christians I've met, I am still residually bitter about the religion. This is more a personal thing, but logically, I am for secular society, mainly because it's the fairest thing to do. Unfortunately, I've encountered many people opposed to this, including my parents, who don't see my point of view. I guess I'm a lone wolf, eh?
| Not At All!, The More Nonesense, The Merrier! ;) ||Dec 19th. at 10:11:57 am EST|
|spiralboy (Wimberley, Tx) ||Age: 41 - Email |
Christmas time is the perfect example of the state of rampant hypocrisy that has become christian america. I love it! Everyone is running around at the last minute trying to buy instant Karma for a year filled will Greed and Hatred, celebrating the birth of the Prince of Peace with a lust for war. What else can we expect?
| Happy Holidays ||Dec 19th. at 11:44:32 am EST|
|Sheila (Cropwell, Alabama) ||Age: 47 - Email |
I enjoy Christmas, the music, the decorations, watching frenzied people at the mall from my perch on the upper floor *grin*, I think its wonderful. As far as people wishing me a “Merry Christmas”, it doesn’t bother me. My friends come from many religious backgrounds so I simply say, as I did in my Christian years, “Happy Holidays”. The cards I send out at this time of year say the same, with the exception of cards for my husband’s family, those are hand selected.
I’m putting up my decorations today, I’ll have my celebration Saturday while my husband is at work, and then we’ll celebrate Christmas on January 6th.
Yes, Christmas is far too commercial. My biggest dislike? The stores decorating for Christmas right after Halloween, I mean, get real, it DOES get old, fast. And, although I do like the holiday music, (I play the instrumental pieces during the year) please keep the vocal stuff off till after Thanksgiving.
| Annoyed, But Still Having Fun ||Dec 19th. at 11:49:35 am EST|
|Naomi (Boyertown, PA) ||Age: 31 - Email |
The fact that commercially Christmas starts in August is annoying, but I have fun for the most part. I tried to get my family to at least exchange gifts with me on Yule, but it didn't work. I try to buy cards the just say HAPPY HOLIDAYS, but I don't correct anyone that says Merry Christmas to me. I just respond with Happy Yule. And while they don't show all the Christmas specials they did when I was a child, there is an old one that actually has somewhat of a Pagan theme. It's called THE LIFE & ADVENTURES OF SANTA CLAUS. It's hard to find, but is worth the effort. And it has to be the puppet version from the '60s, not the cartoon version.
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