One day my step brother David was telling a story about having just listened to a show on the radio and about how progressive and liberal the speaker was only to find out he was listening to a republican which totally amazed him that a republican could be speaking in this way. I spoke up and said; “you see, in the end we all want love and goodness and to get along”. David’s eyes got big as he exclaimed; “YOU are an optimist!” Ever since that moment whenever someone ask my political views, religious views, views in general; I proudly state that I am an optimist. This will help explain the two books (with two completely different perspectives) that I am reading now. “Mere Christianity” and “The End of Faith”.
“…..a cold, self-righteous prog who goes regularly to church may be far nearer to hell than a prostitute.” C. S. Lewis “Mere Christianity”
“…we live in a country in which a person cannot get elected president if he openly doubts the existence of heaven and hell.” Sam Harris “The End of Faith”
I switch back and forth reading a little of each trying to understand everyone’s points of view. Sometimes I’ll be reading and forget which one of the books I’m reading. You wouldn’t think this was possible; but it just goes to prove that we are not as different as we think. In the end I believe that most people want love and goodness and to all get along. I’ve often been conflicted at Christmas time. Why do I carry out the Christmas time traditions when I’m clearly not a religious type person. I actually get angry with society and what Christmas time has turned into. This can’t be what it was meant to be.
Both of the banks in our town are offering Christmas Loans to help people out during the season of over consumption and spending beyond their means. How very christian of the banks to help us out like that. But what is the definition of “christian” when used as an adjective. Let’s take a moment to look that one up :” treating other people in a kind and generous way”. Interesting definition because you can be considered christian without being a christian. This has started out very cynical, I should back up; although I’m fearful that this entire blog post may be cynical and if you haven’t enjoyed it so far you may need to skip this one as Christmas and it’s commercialism and societal pressures always turn me into a Grinch. The very fact that the banks are offering to give out money as long as you sign a paper that you will give it and more back to them does not seem to be treating other people in a kind and generous way. It seems a little back handed and hypocritical. Abusing the definition of christian appears to be the norm. How has “treating other people in a kind and generous way” come to mean getting a loan so that you can buy presents, lights, trees, prime rib and giant blow up snow men for the yard in order to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ? How many shopping days until Christmas? We can shop on Thanksgiving day now. Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, the new chain store in my town will be open on Christmas Day and my favorite the after Christmas sales when you can spend it all on yourself!!!!! Thank God for Christmas to give us a reason to do so much shopping that we need to take out a loan. We haven’t even discussed the stress, cooking, baking and extra weekend work that we have put upon ourselves to get though this joyful time of the year. Who’s family will we be with; his? hers? the step people? the in-laws? Feelings are going to be hurt.
Enough of this. Stop stop. Plenty of people enjoy Christmas time. They get to visit family and friends. They get to give them a gift and truly enjoy giving. They get to decorate a tree with all of the ornaments collected over the years and decorate the house and host a party. They get to go Christmas caroling with the neighbors. They enjoy the hustle and bustle of shopping for presents and the savings on those special savings days. Hooray for these beautiful people who look forward to all of these things. I am happy for you. I am happy that taking out a small loan at Christmas time helps you have a successful and happy Christmas for you and your family. These traditions are special and historic to people and in the words of Meg Poe; “if it matters to them; then it matters”. Who am I to knock their special time and how they enjoy it. Everyone should enjoy the Christmas season in a way that makes it special to them and respect each others way of celebrating.
Can you see it? Can you see my Grinch heart growing? I still will not be putting up a tree or lights. I will not feel guilty for not doing those things. I will not feel pressure to buy presents just to buy presents. I will wake up on Christmas morning with my beautiful man, have a cup of tea and hot oatmeal. We will pack the car and head to the ski hill as is our Christmas tradition. We sit by the fire in the lodge and dress for the outdoors. I will lose my beautiful man for 30 minutes or more on Christmas morning at the lodge. He personally finds every employee at the ski area and wishes them a Merry Christmas. This is his gift and his special way to spend Christmas. His gift is a genuine wish for a Merry Christmas as well as a heart felt smile to all of these people working on Christmas day. He treats people in a kind and generous way and I love him for that.
I hope you all find your special way to have a Merry Christmas and don’t let society or peer pressure dictate that for you. Find your own way to enjoy the holiday season and don’t forget to treat people in a kind and generous way.
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