24 November 2009

Let me be the first - "Happy Holidays"!

Here we go again....reading that can't you just hear Ray Charles somewhere back in your memory banks? But, the here we go again is not Baby Ray's soulful rendition of that great country ballad. Or even Dean Martin's more straight forward version. No, not even close.

The here we go again I refer to is the fact that here we are on the eve of Thanksgiving eve and we're already hearing rumblings of our annual religio-culture war about whether the "reason for the season" is the celebration of the birth of the Jewish prophet "Jesus of Nazareth", on whom Christianity is based, or of a highly evolved pagan winter tide celebration wrapped up in capitalistic consumerism, gift-giving and football schedules. Unless, of course, you are Armenian, then you celebrate the birthday of Jesus on January 6th. I'm not certain about their gift-giving traditions or football schedules. I am dead-on certain about the Armenian January 6 thingee though!

The truth of the matter is very clear to any fair-minded, reasonably well-educated individual; there is absolutely no historical proof of even the year, let alone precise day, of Jesus's birth. I do not care what you believe, or what you believe the bible tells you, or what your preacher Jimmy Ray Billy Bob tells you, there is no historical evidence of even the precise year of Jesus's birth. Yes, there are a couple of conflciting date ranges extrapolated from biblical reference and known historic dates. But, nothing that tells us exactly when Jesus was born. Hence, since such proof or evidence is non-existent, I really would prefer that you not try to force on me and others your overly sentimental and fact-denying belief that the holiday season is about the birth of Jesus and somehow tied to the founding of the United States, Thanksgiving family dinners, the flag, WWII, and the Rose Bowl.

Got it? You are free to believe what you want...no matter how ill-informed is the foundation of your beliefs. What you are not free to do is to try to bully me and others into adhering to your narrow belief system.

I am going to celebrate the holidays, each and every damned one of them that I can fit into my schedule (even the ones I don't entirely understand) and revel in gorging on rich foods, spending too much on presents, and making certain I watch at least one version of the Christmas Carol, read at least once the story of The Little Match Girl, stay up til midnight on Xmas eve in yet another futile attempt to see if animals actually do talk on the stroke of twelve, and fit as many football games into my schedule as my wife will let me get away with.

So, with that, let me be the first; Happy Holidays!

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