HOLIDAY HUMBUG
or How Religion Ruined Christmas

     I believe in Christmas.  I love almost everything about it, though there are a couple of trends that concern me.  Christmas has the potential to be the salvation of the human race if only people would get with the program.  So let me state right here the true meaning of Christmas.  Ready? here it is:
PEACE and GOOD WILL
That's it! Got it? Furthermore, what most people think are problems with Christmas are not problems at all.  Lets look at some of the misconceptions.
  People are only nice at Christmas time and not the rest of the year.  This is a problem?  It's called 'The Christmas Spirit' and it is a good thing.  When we are filled with the spirit of Christmas, we give of ourselves to our fellow man, even strangers, especially to strangers.  We are charitable with our treasure, our time and our trust.  One can simply not afford to be so charitable all through the year.  If we did, we would soon be bereft any resources at all.  We would become poor and jaded.  The point is, that once a year we can afford to allow the dishonorable to take advantage of us so that the truly worthy may benefit, knowing that we can't always distinguish between the two ahead of time.  We scatter the seeds of peace and good will in the hopes that some few of them will find fertile soil.
  Christmas has become too commercial.  The exchanging of gifts, the decorations and the other things we spend money on, are all customs that can provide profound spiritual import.  Anyone who has ever struggled, and succeeded in finding the perfect gift, knows the inherent rewards of giving.  Likewise, the lifting of spirits that accompanies an embracing of the season, is of benefit not only to ourselves but to those around us.  To the extent that there are those who engage in these activities while eschewing their deeper significance, the rewards are diminished but there are no penalties suffered.  If nothing else, the economy gets a boost and there are more jobs, and better paying jobs, and to the extent that possessions can enrich our lives, they are so enriched.  Even so, we need not content ourselves with such meager goals.  The shallowness of others in no way prevents us from wringing depth and profundity from each small act of kindness.
     I do find a problem in the expansion of the Christmas season.  I propose that we all insist that no Christmas themes, in music, retail wares, and especially in advertisements, will be permitted before Thanksgiving.  As the Christmas season gets longer and longer, it necessarily becomes less and less special.  Being good requires effort.  Being extra good requires extra effort.  The less time we attempt to sustain a heightened disposition the higher we can reach.
      Which brings me to the one real problem with Christmas.  Let met state again, the true meaning of Christmas is PEACE and GOOD WILL.  Peace and good will are objectives absolutely everyone can get behind.  If you chose to put the nativity front and center in your personal celebration, I have no problem with that.  However, by insisting that Christmas focus on the birth of Christ, non Christians are necessarily excluded.  The Christmas holiday has become so successful that everyone has to get in on it.  There are competing celebrations such as  Hanukkah and Kwanza.  Now I understand that it's just not going anywhere to suggest that we take Christ out of Christmas.  Nor do I wish to deny anyone else the particular celebrations of their faith.  What I am suggesting is that Christmas has already engulfed us all, and that for one brief period of time each year, all the people of the world should unite in promoting peace and good will. 
     From the tinsel to the carolers, I think Christmas is pure magic, but at it's core is something that just might turn out to be more beneficial to mankind than all prior political movements, enumeration of fundamental rites, or philanthropic organizations.  As always, it's all up to us.

Merry X-mas Everyone