On this first day of December after so much terror and so much foolishness over Black Friday merchandise I thought I would borrow a note from an angel Tonight I want to tell you the story of an empty stocking. … Continue reading
It’s the silly season and I bet, like me, all of you have have been inundated with negative sentiments on social media, in person, or in the mail.
People keep complaining about what religion is best, who is being excluded, and how what I’m feeling is either stupid, unrealistic, or just plain bad. I keep seeing how we are being brainwashed by religion, media, politicians, and the Internet for one reason or another.
It just seems so sad to me. The purpose of the holiday celebrations during winter is to add some joy in the blackness of winter when this feeling is scarce. This is true regardless of which religion you adhere to. In fact, you will find that there was a celebration (some of them solemn and some of them anything but) in just about every religion during this time of the year.
Yet, this reason seems to have gotten lost in the glitz and glamour of gift giving and the battles over what the season is supposed to mean.
Christianity has been under attack by those who want to eliminate religion from the festive events of the holidays, saying that we shouldn’t exclude anyone. This is kind of ironic considering that one of the largest religious sects on this planet today is still Christianity and currently the major holiday festivities are surrounding Christmas.
This is a holiday for Christians. It is the right of every Christian to celebrate and I do not want to remove any of the warmth or sentiment from the practice by quarreling over “who” has the right to celebrate it.
It never ceases to amuse me that all the best Christmas carols and cartoons were not written by Christians. For some reason other religions all want to participate in at least some of the practices and events of Christmas.
This doesn’t mean that Christianity is the only acceptable religion or that Jesus was actually born on December 25. We have figured out from the stories told and history that he was more likely born in April and that it was a clever pope who selected the winter solstice celebrated by Pagans to celebrate the birth of Christ. Therefore, naming December 25 Christmas (the day to celebrate Christ’s birth) was very clever indeed.
Why was this clever? Because, in the bitter winter months we need something to look forward to; to celebrate rather than hibernate.
This pope never heard of the phrase seasonal affective disorder and he did not have statistics to prove that suicide and depression increase during this time of year. He just knew that, like Pagans, his “flock” needed something to celebrate and why not let it be the birth of the key figure in his religion. CLEVER.
So Christmastime was born and while Christians have not cornered the market on this time of year –there is Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year’s Eve and Winter Solstice celebrations– Christmas sets the tone.
So give it credit and do not hold it against Christians that we celebrate Christmas during this time of year.
Instead of trying to remove Christ (or religion) from the celebrations, why not ask yourself why it is that this is one of the most beloved holidays for Christians and non-Christians alike.
It fills a need.
The need to be part of something more than ourselves; and
It gives us a reason.
It is the reason to be kind and generous to our fellow neighbors, friends and family without having to justify it.
It gives us a legal holiday to enjoy peace and take some much needed down time to get a little silly and laugh at ourselves for a couple of days each year.
Why would anyone be against this?
It revitalizes the soul. So even if you are non-religious, agnostic, or a full-blown atheist ask yourself what is the best gift you can give your fellow neighbors during one of the bleakest times of the year?
Do we really need more “things”? or is it something as simple as a warm smile, a friendly hand, and the kindness that comes from simply giving your acceptance of who we are and that we matter. All this can be summed up in my gift to you.
My gift to all of you this Christmas is a wish:
I wish you understanding, non-judgment, kindness and love. I wish you forgiveness. I wish you a peace that fills your soul and lets you believe in miracles once more.
I wish this to all of you, whether you believe in Christ or not.
Every time you hear Merry Christmas you are hearing my wish for you.
And for those who care to give one to me, you can wrap it in any moniker you wish: Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Feliz Noel, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Hanukkah, or simply ~ Peace.
I will be touched by the sentiment in each sincere wish, for I know that you understand the true meaning of the season.
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!
Steven King was a head of his time!
When he wrote Carrie nearly 40 years ago, it’s doubtful that he envisioned the state of the US and it’s teenagers these days.
With the recent remakes of the blockbuster movie starring Sissy Spacek, my students are interested in revisiting this novel. Well it’s revisiting for me for them it’s a new book but not a new theme.
Carrie is the outcast, the brunt of all jokes and disdain of the entire student body. King himself admits he hated the character of Carrie and almost trashed the project.
Yet, he couldn’t have known what would be in store for the generation of his children’s children.
Bullying is nothing new, yet it’s increasing violent and malevolent tenure has given rise to campaigns to stop bullying and end the rash of Suicides that have occurred as a result.
Yet haven’t we known someone like Carrie? Haven’t we felt like a milder version of the misfit in our painful growing years? True many haven’t been subjected to the steady physical, psychological, mental and emotional abuse she suffered at the hands of her mother, but what I think most can identify with is the dichotomy of being ostracized by your peers vs the disgust she provokes within us.
It’s summed up in the gym teacher’s urge to hit Carrie for her ignorance, yet at the same time, her scorn for the bullies who tortured Carrie; and then her own admonishment for not reaching out, not trying to help Carrie earlier.
This wasn’t a case of Carrie suddenly appearing on the scene. She grew up in this small town with these children. She earned their disgust early, which is classic treatment with children.
“Carrie” begs the question about what would happen if just one adult in her 16 years had taken an interest in intervening on her behalf. It shows us how we go about our day insulated in our own thoughts, never risking even to rise our thoughts above the cursory awareness of the misfits that move throughout our world.
King accurately, if not a little heavy-handed, shows how monsters are made not born. In essence “Carrie” is his Frankenstein. So can you truly blame the monster for turning on it’s creators?
What is really scary for me is that works of fiction like this are read, digested and forgotten. It’s not until real life tragedies happen that we rise above our own self-absorption to say “oh?”
Columbine comes to mind. They turned on their peers but it’s what we heard later that’s most disturbing: how many were interviewed who said they knew something bad was coming? How many moved out rather than try and solve the problem? Isn’t that what we do? How neighborhoods “fall to pot”? Don’t get involved! Don’t take the risk! Don’t even pay attention–it will go away.
Humans are a selfish lot and our more altruistic traits tend to take a back seat to our dark tendencies. It’s why folks get so amazed when someone shows a simple act of kindness. They distrust it. There has to be a motive because we aren’t kind for no reason.
When did we get so jaded? So distrustful? When did it become a crime to help out a friend, neighbor, community member just because it’s the right thing to do?
Carrie holds a mirror up to today’s society and warns us that if we don’t wake up, we are creating monsters and those monsters will turn on us viciously and violently.
This being the anniversary of 911, I’ve taken a request from a Facebook friend and expanded it. Now as you know daily blogging is difficult for me, but I am up for this challenge:
She asked us in honor of this day to do an act of kindness for a stranger.
I have vowed to do this for one month.
From 9/11 to 10/11.
I will post these acts here not for praise or accolades, but to inspire readers to pay it forward. If you would like to share your own inspirations, please do so!