my occasional musings on life, love, art, perfume ... what else is there?

12.16.2006

Have Yourself An Ecumenical Little Holiday

With the recent hoohah about Christmas trees and Seattle-Tacoma Airport (The trees are up! They're down! They're up, again!), we find ourselves once again in the season for arguing about holiday ornamentation.

Oh, for God's sake.

Speaking as a Jew, who was once a Protestant Christian educated by Catholic nuns, and who has leanings toward Taoism on alternate Tuesdays, I have a suggestion:

Why don't you do what makes YOU happy, and let everybody else do what makes them happy?

For instance, I enjoy a wildly-lit Christmas tree (in all its once-Pagan glory) standing next to my collection of menorahs. It reminds me of my childhood, even as the menorahs remind me of the happier times of my first marriage.

Have enough generosity of spirit -- enough self-possession and faith in the strength of your own faith -- to let others celebrate right in front of you without demanding "EQUAL TIME! EQUAL TIME!"

It's silly to argue over trees vs. menorahs vs. whatever. That argument has nothing to do with the rights of minorities to practice their own faiths.

It has everything to do with understanding that a symbol that means nothing to you may mean everything to someone else. Let them have that symbol, and enjoy it, and go home to where you proudly, profoundly, display the symbols to which you are emotionally drawn.

Be happy that others are celebrating in their way, even as you are celebrating in yours.

To my Jewish friends and family, Happy Chanukah. I will make -- and eat -- a latke for you.

10 Comments:

Blogger katiedid said...

The thing that gets me is that Sea-Tac totally overreacted. All the rabbi was after was a menorah display, too - not for the tree to come down. Why Sea-Tac never thought of doing that YEARS ago is beyond me... I really don't mind the equal time thing for the holidays to some extent: I'm keen to celebrate as many holidays as possible anyhow! And I think menorahs are pretty, so I'm all for them everywhere, too, because I"m shallow like that ;-)

However, this debacle just gave the nutjobs one more reason to scream "WAR ON CHRISTMAS!" And I hate that. To me, Christmas trees celebrate my German pagan roots not a Christian holiday. Placing evergreen boughs and trees outside one's home to ward away evil spirits, and such, is a totally pagan Germanic custom.

On the upside of it all, there was the most hilarious "discussion" of it on The McLaughlin Group show (I swear I don't really watch, but it comes on after the MacNeil-Lerher News Hour, and I forgot to turn the TV off.) The whole debacle was almost worth it because of that alone. Man, I wish you could have seen it - it was fantastically funny! All the men got so twitchy and self-righteous, claiming they "read up about" stuff without ever citing any sources or WHAT they read. Dude, I am so trying that whenever I am losing an argument: but I read it somewhere, so it must be true! I just searched the McLaughlin site, but there's no video or transcripts up of it. Drat! If I find it online somewhere, that's my Xmas present to you: it was that good. Like, tears running down the face funny. It was awesomely horrible.

2:24 PM

 
Blogger mireille said...

I hope you find it, K! I'll look for it, too; I'd like to read it.

The thing about Sea-Tac is that they were reacting to the rabbi's threat of a lawsuit.

Interestingly, the city's Jewish council later came out saying they were not in support of the lawsuit that had been threatened.

I think they believe that there are much larger issues to deal with in this day and age besides trying to get equal lightbulbs in a public place for what Jews regard as a comparatively minor -- although still culturally important -- festival. xoxo

3:11 PM

 
Blogger Doug said...

Mazel Tov, Mireille and Amen. May everyone enjoy their own ceremony, Inshallah. Except the "war on Christmas" folks. May they get a champagne cork where the sun don't shine.

8:58 AM

 
Blogger Bela said...

Sorry this is late: Happy Hanukkah to you too, M!

As far as displaying religious symbols goes, I don't mind what anybody does as long as they don't stop me from doing what I want to do or force me to do what they do.

5:32 AM

 
Blogger Tan Lucy Pez said...

Good post. But too reasonable. People are unreasonable. That's the main problem.

7:32 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glad I made my way over here, Mireille. So, let me see if I understand: I'll say "Merry Christmas" to you, and you say "Happy Hanukah" to me, and, even though we're a little different, we'll both be happy for each other?

Naah, it'll never work.

Now, what is it you say to a Taoist? Let me know, and I'll make a point of saying it to you next Tuesday.

6:45 AM

 
Blogger Logophile said...

The Sea-Tac thing was fun, eh?
I hope some nice maintainence guys at least got some good overtime out of the deal.
I had a clerk at a store say, "Merry Christmas!" then she got a guilt ridden look on her face and waited for my reaction. I guess they had been warned to Happy Holiday people. It made me sad. That is so not what ANY of the holidays are suppose to be about.

6:53 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

AMEN! (I'm an atheist, but I love to say that, because it's just so perfect)

Great post, perfectly stated.

Happy Chanukah to you!

2:32 PM

 
Blogger Doug said...

Al, I think to a taoist you say "May today be like every other day along a long road and may you never mind never knowing where you are."

That's why they don't breed.

9:34 AM

 
Blogger mireille said...

Al, yeah ... what Doug said ... and thanks for visiting my blog. I love seeing all my friends here, and hope your celebrations, whatever form they take, are giving you joy. xoxo

3:09 PM

 

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