Today, I want to take a moment to talk about something that's been on my mind for awhile. And that is the right to celebrate the holidays your way.
My thoughts on this subject go back to when I was working at T-Mobile. We had a very nice lobby in the call center and they always put up a huge Christmas tree and also an electric menorah and the Kwanzaa candelabra thing (sorry, don't know the name). I always thought it was nice until one day I was sitting there waiting for my husband to pick me up and I realized that all the ornaments on the tree were just generic colored balls. At that moment, I realized that I really couldn't say that my religion (Christian) was being represented in this lobby. The tree was clearly a secular Christmas tree, the menorah was Jewish and the Kwanzaa candelabra...well, I'll be honest that I don't know a lot about that holiday except that it's African American. There were no crosses, no mangers, no nativities, no doves, no wise men....absolutely nothing that represented the actual Christian Christmas. I thought about complaining to HR but I didn't. Mostly because I didn't think they'd do anything anyway.
On Facebook and in emails this time of year, you'll see Ben Stein's Christmas confession. Most of it is actually true. You can read what he actually said here. The gist of his confession is that even though he's Jewish, he doesn't feel threatened by Christmas trees or anything having to do with Christian Christmas. I share his sentiment. I think you should be able to celebrate "the holidays" any way that you want (as long as it's legal). I have a blogging friend who's a Hellenistic pagan. She celebrates Solstice. That's perfectly fine. That doesn't offend me. She made a wonderful "countdown to Christmas" for her son. Isabella on Phineas and Ferb being Jewish and celebrating Hanukkah doesn't offend me. Being totally into Santa Claus doesn't offend me.
What really offends me is when I get the gist that I'm not allowed to display my faith and my views on Christmas. Our Constitution gives us the right to "freedom of religion" and not "freedom from religion." It's a wonderful thing. We all have the right to worship however we choose. We do not, however, have the right to force people to worship in a specific way or to impose our beliefs on others.
In the past fifteen or so years, I've noticed a trend of Christian beliefs getting stomped on. It makes me mad. I have the right to put a giant light up nativity in my front yard. My neighbor has the same right to put up a giant David's star and menorah or a pentacle or fill the yard with Santas. We can all celebrate the holidays our own way. I can tell you to have a "Blessed Christmas" and you can tell me to have a "Happy Solstice." I find it interesting that the same people who preach "tolerance" won't tolerate my beliefs. Apparently, tolerance only applies when it's something that they believe in. My beliefs don't count.
On a slightly related tangent, I think sometimes Christians go too far the other way and banish anything secular from their house. I think there's a place for both. I put only Christian ornaments on the tree but I didn't burn my secular ornaments. Our plan is to get two smaller trees and when we have more room, to put them up and put the secular stuff on that. I am making my daughters ornaments each year. This year I'm making Zoé a Mickey Mouse and Adèle a Pooh. I think you can have fun with the different ornaments as long as you don't lose sight of Jesus as the reason for the season. I'm not pushing Santa Claus on them either. It's a balancing act, just like everything else.
In conclusion, this is America. Let's enjoy our freedom to celebrate the holidays whether you celebrate Christmas, Solstice, Hanukkah Kwanzaa or nothing at all. Let's just do it without stomping on other people.