So it’s that time of year again. It’s the annual showdown between the fundamentalist Christians and the Atheist billboards. When conservative TV and radio hosts scream that we need to put the Christ back in Christmas. Tis’ the season to debate about what the politically correct way of greeting each other in late December is.
For the vast majority of my life I was in favor of secularizing Christmas. I had no problem saying “Merry Christmas” even though I was an outspoken atheist. But this year I have had a change of heart. I recently read Penn Jillette’s new book, Everyday is an Atheist holiday and he makes some very good arguments against atheists who celebrate Christmas. It made an impression on me and I feel like I should start changing my attitude towards it.
I have always had fond memories of Christmas. Some of the happiest memories of my life are those from the Christmas holidays, spending time with family, giving & getting presents. Only when I was very young and our family still attended church did we mention the Jesus part of Christmas. But for the most part, religion and God never really had a role in the celebration of the holiday.
But now that I am so outspoken against religion, I’m starting to feel hypocritical to celebrate the day of the birth of Christ. So I’m trying to find a happy middle ground where I can still enjoy the benefits of a holiday from work or school with family without feeling like I’m cheapening the day that many of my friends consider to be sacred. I feel that’s why I should personally stop saying “Merry Christmas” and start saying “Happy Holidays” more. But I have absolutely no problem with other people saying “merry Christmas” to me.
It’s a tough call for me. I feel like this movement in popular culture and media of saying “Seasons greetings” or “Happy Holidays” is a euphemism for “We actually want to say Merry Christmas but we’re afraid that we’ll offend somebody.” People should say “Merry Christmas” if they mean it and it’s too bad for any politically correct, weak person who decides to be offended by a word. I haven’t met a single non-Christian who is bothered by hearing “Christmas”. This also may be hypocrital on my behalf but personally I can’t say “Merry Christmas” anymore without being dishonest. So when I say “Happy Holidays” I actually do mean, “Enjoy your time off work or school however you choose to enjoy it!” So out of respect to my friends who are Christians, we really should put the Christ back in Christmas but enjoy the Holidays with the people we love without having anyone left out no matter their religion or lack thereof.
Please listen to this beautiful song by Tim Minchin called White wine in the sun. It sums up my feeling towards Christmas perfectly.