THOUGHTS ON MERRY CHRISTMAS

I am sure some of you will find what I’m going to say in this blog offensive.  I say “Merry Christmas.”  In the end, I am a Christian.  I was raised Roman Catholic to be exact.  I also spent a small amount of time being Lutheran and attending Lutheran Seminary.

I was a Taoist for a short while. When I was in my twenties,  I once told an Emergency Room Admissions Clerk that I practiced Druidry.  She informed me that there were no Druids, a member of the priestly cast of the Celts about 2000 years ago, available if I had a serious problem a/k/a death or a near death experience while admitted to the hospital.  I was walking, talking and hadn’t even seen an ER doctor yet.  Further, I was only complaining about my left arm which I hurt while landscaping.  I thought I broke it.  She then asked if I had access to a Druid hospital the hospital should notify if a serious problem a/k/a death or a near death experience “hit” unexpectedly.

When I was younger, it fascinated me that she believed I actually practiced Druidry.  As I experienced the aging process, I thought maybe she was teasing  the young man who walked into the hospital and “fed” her the Druid line.  I could tell she was initially shocked when I informed her that my religious preference was Druidry. However, after the initial shock, she adjusted rapidly, asked her questions, typed my answers and didn’t blink at any of my responses.   She showed no prejudice at anytime against Druidry.

That’s the way I feel about religions and people’s choices generally.  I do not feel any tolerance for Radical Islamists, however.  They chop off heads, blow up planes, ships, subways etc….  They seem to think it is okay to destroy anything and everything about a human being who is not in agreement with their belief system.  I also have no tolerance for those who attempt to control people’s philosophies or beliefs with the arrogance of rightness.  This does not mean I’m against people’s desire to proselytize.

I’m tired of hearing about the Crusades. I’m tired of hearing about how Christians invaded the Holy Land.  Yes, Christians did.  But the Muslims invaded and conquered a nice section of Europe as well.  The French after World War II took Algerians loyal to  France back to France so they wouldn’t be killed by other Algerians.  Now the French Algerians are burning and destroying parts of France.  I’m tired of hearing how Colonialism of the past is an excuse for present actions.

I picked up one of my young daughters history books. The material in the book explained that the American Revolution was lead by 25% African-Americans, 25% Women, 25%  people of the Jewish faith and 25% white males.  Really?  I’m not agreeing with the values of society then, but the leaders of the American Revolution were white males of a variety of Christian faiths.

Nothing we are watching today on the news is different than the rest of the history of mankind.  People have been killing for every reason or no reason for as long as man has been on Earth.  Man can be mean, kill, maim and hurt.  It is historically and even now simple: “Law of the jungle!”  “Desire for wealth and power!”  The two preceding maxims both relate to the historical seven deadly sins: Gluttony, Avarice, Pride, Sloth, Envy, Anger and Lust.  Man’s urges have always been pretty much the same.

The history of mankind goes from war to war, cause to cause, and the desire for wealth and power.  Whatever the currency of success is at a given time in history, whether it is  stronger, faster, smarter, long hair, short hair, no hair, grey hair, Vegan, carnivorous, the stronger of the currency will triumph over the less strong when mankind as a whole competes, as it always does.

It’s the life equation of our jobs, our sports,  the games we play, it’s everywhere.  Everyone is not equal in every way, and most people know it, but won’t say it, because we are all worried about being Politically Correct. PC is not real.  It’s not even imaginary.  It’s ridiculous.  It’s been said I’m negative for being anti-PC.  I’ve been told in my way of thinking,  people should have the option to express themselves, PC as well.  I agree people can believe and express themselves as PC in the world.

I’m not negative.  I just recognize the historical reality of life and try to live my life with integrity, truth, honor and empathy for my fellowman recognizing the history of mankind.  I do not succeed all the time, but I keep trying.  That is the path I have chosen.

Druidry practices tolerance of many spiritual and philosophical systems.  Druidry teaches that no system of thought or belief is better than another.

I grew up a Christian, loving Christmas.  I learned that Christmas was the day on which Jesus Christ was born.  Mary was his virgin mother and Joseph was his earthly father. There was a manger.  There were animals, angels, the three kings, King Herod, and the Christmas Star.   One Christmas theme is “Peace on Earth and Goodwill towards men.”  “Isn’t that the real “Reason for the Season?” for Christians.

I have no problem with Chanukah, Kwanzaa, even Happy Holidays generally. None of it bothers me because around this time of year everyone strives for the idealistic, yet unattainable goals of men.

I wish people Merry Christmas because I was taught that Christmas was part of my belief system.  In my family’s home it was a time of joy.  It was also a time of joy in many of my friends’ homes, and the public school and Lutheran school I attended.

Christmas was bright with lights, trees, angels, wreaths, singing and “breaking bread.”  It was a celebration of the birth of the Son of God.  It didn’t matter how much pot I  smoked, booze I drank, acid I dropped, coke I snorted, I always made sure I attended Midnight Mass.  My brothers and sisters did the same.  Midnight mass at Christmas was peaceful and full of hope.

Much of my life I have been a “C and E,” Catholic.  “C and E” Catholics are known for attending mass on Christmas and Easter only.  Much of my life I have not attended mass at all.  If the God I believe in ever measures me for my worthiness for eternal peace based on receipt of Baptism, Church attendance, following the sacraments or proselityzing the word, I am Hell bound or damned to an extension of man’s miseries and failures.  The only qualification I have for eternal peace on that list is Baptism.

I have always given my life my “best shot,” and my true triumphs or accomplishments have been limited or non-existent because for most of my existence I have tried to live right by my fellowman.  This means of living has been an unsuccessful way to live.  It violates the Seven Deadly Sins.

But Christmas, “Hark the Herald Angels sing; glory to our new born King.  Peace on Earth and mercy mild;  God and sinner reconciled!”  Christmas allows me to feel hope.  People are generally friendlier, kinder, more caring, warmer and more empathetic in the Christmas season.

I remember Christmas caroling with friends, sitting on the steps in the dark at home, looking at a lit up Christmas tree, attempting to stay awake all night with my sister to not see Santa so I would have definite proof of his non-existence to resolve the clever hoax perpetrated by my parents and many of my friends’ parents.  On Christmas, family and friends opened gifts, gave gifts, laughed and sang around the piano.  Christmas dinner at my parents’ home consisted of twenty or thirty joyful people of all religions, races and nationalities.  Something Druidry has in common with my parents’ home at Christmas.

Some years I dressed as Santa complete with a white beard, red suit, a black belt and boots, and gave gifts to poor children. I took my two youngest daughters around to houses dressed as Hannah Clause and Jolly Old St. Nickie with gifts for their friends and the neighborhood’s small children. We had Christmas tree trimming parties etc… etc… etc….

I’m not claiming to be a good Catholic or Christian.  I am claiming that the Christmas season, for me, brought out the best in people I knew, including me.

I wished a friend Happy Chanukah today.  Why, because she is Jewish and celebrates Chanukah.  If an African American wishes me a “Joyous Kwanzaa, I’ll wish him or her a “Joyous Kwanzaa.”  I can’t find a problem with wishing others and receiving positive wishes from others at this time of year in the language of their faiths when the focus is on the good in mankind.  I simply learned this time of year as the Christmas Season.

Well, why not say Happy Holidays, a contemporary critic might ask.  Happy Holidays is all inclusive.  Since when has the world become all inclusive, like the meals and drinks at a resort or on a Caribbean Cruise.  It’s full of groups and individual forms of worship.

The largest group of religious practitioners in the United States is Christians.  Why do we have to say Happy Holidays, instead of Merry Christmas?  Why do Jewish people have to say Happy Holidays instead of Happy Chanukah?  Why must someone who practices Kwanzaa say Happy Holidays, instead of Joyous Kwanzaa?  What’s wrong with differences in philosophy, thought and belief systems, provided people are not out to destroy others or life’s meaning for others because of their own belief in the rightness of their philosophy, thought or belief system.

Hold on was I just being critical of Radical Islamists or practitioners of Political Correctness?  Merry Christmas to all, especially those who practice Druidry.

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