So…  It is the “holiday season” and we are told we must be politically correct (PC) in how we address people and refer to this time of year.  Certainly wouldn’t want to offend.

Hmmmmmmm…  Let us think about this for a moment.  While of late “Merry Christmas” is taboo, “Happy Holidays” is the alternate preferred by the PC crowd.  Why would that be?  Why is “Happy Holidays” better than “Merry Christmas”?  Maybe because they have no clue of what they speak.  Few actually understand what they claim and are good sheep following their leader.  The leaders of course have no other agenda than keeping the sheep in line and keeping their power.  Those truly of faith do not tend to follow the PC leaders and this upsets them to no end.  Regardless, as long as the sheep are content to not question, the PC leaders can lead our nation down the path of ruin.  Let us not be PC sheep.  Let us look at the “holiday situation” from a truthful point-of-view.

“Holiday” – from where did this word originate.  To make it short and sweet, holiday means Holy Day.  And while we currently call pretty much any non-weekend day we have off from work a holiday, the celebration of such days in the past was a religious celebration.  Therefore, whether the PC crowd likes it or not, “Happy Holidays” is still a religious pronouncement.

Let us take it from the beginning to the end of the major holiday season.  This is not to leave out Easter and a few others throughout the year, but since they have yet to create a crisis in the secular world – since it is much harder to turn commercial and make a profit (other than chocolate bunnies) they tend to leave them alone for the most part.

The 31st of October is Halloween.  Halloween translates to “All Hallows Eve”.  What is a “hallow” and why would we participate in such a ritual.  Must be from some old Druid tradition – at least that is what so many would have us believe.  Nope.  “Hallow” means to “render holy by means of religious rites” or “honor as holy” and normally refers to the saints as per the Catholic Church and some Protestant denominations.  According to several sources, “the best available evidence indicates that Halloween originated in the early Middle Ages as a Catholic vigil observed on the eve of All Saints Day, November 1.”  Of course in today’s secular and politically correct world we certainly can’t have that.  So “it has become commonplace to trace its roots even further back in time to a pagan festival of ancient Ireland known as Samhain [Summer’s End].”  This is quite easy to pass off since very little is actually known about Samhain.  So we can say about it whatever it takes to discredit the Christian custom.  As well, again according to several sources, many “modern historians, notably Ronald Hutton (The Stations of the Sun: A History of the Ritual Year in Britain, 1996) and Steve Roud (The English Year, 2008, and A Dictionary of English Folklore, 2005), flatly reject the popular notion that November 1 was designated All Saints Day by the Church to ‘Christianize’ the pagan festival. Citing a lack of historical evidence, Roud dismisses the Samhain theory of origin altogether.”  Bottom line:  regardless of the continued falsehoods spread even to this day connecting Halloween to pagans (Irish or otherwise), it is and always will be the eve of a Christian holy day.  If we choose to celebrate that evening by running from neighbor to neighbor begging for sweets, so be it.

Thanksgiving is ok – so far.  Although it is called an American “holiday”, it is not technically one.  According to “in November 1621, after the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest proved successful, Governor William Bradford organized a celebratory feast and invited a group of the fledgling colony’s Native American allies, including the Wampanoag chief Massasoit. Now remembered as American’s “first Thanksgiving”—although the Pilgrims themselves may not have used the term at the time—the festival lasted for three days.”  Seriously, THREE DAYS!  What gives with our current culture?!  I could sure go for 3 days off to eat, drink and be merry.  Of course, the PC crowd has yet to create a crisis around Thanksgiving.  Why is a little difficult to understand, although I suspect it has something to do with it being more a celebration of America than a “holy day”.  It is definitely not a holy day as it is normally defined.  No religion of international recognition claims it as its own.  However, they will at some point start to question to whom are we giving thanks.  Once they figure out that God is in the picture, watch out!  Thanksgiving will be on their hit list.

Christmas is of course the most attacked of all.  As mentioned, saying “Merry Christmas” is wholly inappropriate.  It turns all but Christians into second class citizens by its very utterance.  However, “Happy Holidays” – aka “Happy Holy Days” is perfectly fine – so far.  Curious is it not?  Are we as a society THAT afraid of God?  I mean we SHOULD be.  But not for celebrating the birth of His Son.  We should be for marginalizing or allowing to be marginalized the celebration thereof.  What is wrong with our society that is should be so afraid of one segment celebrating something.  They lean on the claim that we are bound by the Constitution to not push our religion on others.  They lose the fact that allowing a worker or even a group of workers, even in a government office, to put up Christmas decorations is certainly not forcing anyone else in that office to convert.  Although I find it ridiculous to have to say, I am lucky to work in a government facility (a school) that still decorates for Christmas.  Teachers, administrators and students are allowed to select whatever type of decoration they wish for their individual space.  Nobody is offended.  Everybody seems to be much more relaxed and happier this time of the year.  Well, except for the students’ worry about those pesky finals!  They seem much less worried though as they walk by various doors or desks and smile at the holy day decorations.  Or when they smile and laugh amid the greetings of “Merry Christmas!” (yes, we still allow that to be said as well).  I suspect someday the PC crowd will get wind of this merriment and attempt to censor it.  Maybe, just maybe, society will come to its senses prior to that and declare we’ve had enough with yet another loss of our freedom and put an end to political correctness itself.  Let us hope it is soon.

Finally, New Years!  Happy, happy, happy – at least so far.  One version holds that the celebration of New Year’s began in ancient Babylonia in Mesopotamia as the festival which renewed the world for another year.  Another (also of the same timeframe) holds that it began technically as the celebration of the creation – in this case, not strictly the beginning of time but the beginning of man.  While Western Society eventually settled on 1 January (in the year 1582 by, of course, Pope Gregory XIII), other cultures and religions celebrate other days.  Hence, the Chinese New Year (based on the Chinese calendar) and the Christian New Year (the first Sunday of Advent based on the Liturgical calendar) and Rosh Hashanah in the Jewish faith.  Cultures celebrate the “new year” (whenever it happens to fall) for various reasons.  However, it primarily boils down to the commemoration of creation and a renewal of life.  This, as these originating cultures will tell you, is from a theological perspective.  While we don’t want to stretch the point too far, yet again, God (in whatever form or theology) is present in this holiday as well.

This ends our quick journey through the holy day season.  From All Hallows Eve to the New Year.  How much more religious can you get.  All ye of no faith, if you don’t like it, QUIT celebrating OUR holidays.  Get your own.  But definitely stop pushing the idea we must keep quiet about what we are doing.  Most, if not all, religions have their holidays.  Christians have no problem with others celebrating Hanukkah (last celebrated 8-16 Dec 2012), Rosh Hashanah (next Sep 16-18 2013), Yom Kippur (the holiest day of the year for Jews – next celebrated on 25-26 Sep 2013), and of course Passover (next 25 Mar – 1 Apr 2013).  Nor do we have a problem with Ramadan (next starting 9 July 2013) or any other Muslim holidays.  Or the Chinese New Year (not technically a “holiday” but celebrated nonetheless by a visit to the temple to offer prayers) or Magha Puja, Buddhist holidays that few in this country are even aware.  There dates, similar to Jewish dates, are not on the “Western” calendar so “move” from year to year.

I have numerous friends, coworkers and acquaintances of different faiths.  I wish them a Merry Christmas.  They don’t get offended.  They may return a “Happy Hanukkah” or other greeting/response based on their beliefs.  We are a country founded in the Christian tradition – or Judeo-Christian if you must but that is actually redundant for anyone of knowledge about Christianity.  While we absolutely SHOULD respect the religious rights of all, we should NEVER secularize or marginalize the most profound beliefs and traditions of our neighbors and fellow countrymen by pushing them behind closed doors.

It is now becoming a cliché, but one to which few listen.  The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution declares freedom OF religion (“Congress shall make no law … prohibiting the free exercise thereof” [religion]), NOT freedom FROM religion.  The public square has always been a place for display and discourse for ALL.  Those that want to shut it down must be afraid of SOMETHING.  I for the life of me have no idea what it is.  I only hope we can learn to discuss and not bury our differences.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

The day is at a close, the night is drawing in and my cigar awaits – ’til next time…