'Tis the Season
Walking into the building at a rest stop in North Carolina on November 10th, our ears were met with the sound of Christmas music, exactly two weeks before Thanksgiving. I'm sure it was being played other places even earlier. I admit that I like to hear the never-out-of-date songs that have been around forever. Most of them are completely non-religious, e.g. Frosty the Snowman, I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause, and one of my personal favorites, Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer. I do have to feel sorry, though, for the people who work in stores where they hear this music all day long for many weeks.
Rev. Carol recently led two adult RE sessions on "Unplugging the Christmas Machine." Those in attendance commented on their various feelings and experiences with the holiday season, from giving gifts, sending cards, and celebrating with friends and family. Regardless of religious beliefs, most find joy in this time of year. There are, of course, many different celebrations around the period of late December - Hanukah, Kwanza, and many associated with the winter solstice. Most of these were in existence prior to the Christians deciding to take advantage of the already festive time of year and adopt December 25th as one of the major dates on their church calendar. Thus, we end up with some people being offended when you say Happy Holidays and others when you say Merry Christmas. I tend to use the former because I want to be inclusive of all and acknowledge the diversity of beliefs and types of celebrations. However, I also frequently say Merry Christmas, because although Christians hate to hear this, the fact is the word Christmas has become kind of a generic term for the many aspects of this time of year.
Whatever your beliefs or interests in the various components of the season, I wish you all a happy time, and I hope you enjoy the Christmas music until December 26th when Frosty and Rudolph go back into hibernation for ten months, or maybe less.
I hold onto way too much stuff, with the idea that it may come in handy someday. This line of thinking was justified recently when I found a document from some kind of service in December 1993 when we were members of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial UU Church in Charlottesville, VA. It contained a poem that I had written. I thought I'd dust it off and present it again.
We celebrate Christmas only once a year,
With caroling, and presents, and festive cheer;
But then it's all over and we start off anew,
With all of the business of living to do.
Why can't the spirit of the season live on,
From one day to another, the whole year long,
And 'Good Will To All' be our constant theme?
Perhaps that's too much for anyone to dream --
But dream we must, though it's only a start,
For the key to success lies in each one's heart.
Just as one thread leads to a cloth being weaved,
Each one's effort leads to a goal that's achieved.
So, as the season accents friendship and glee,
Let's not allow it to end with apathy.
For all can easily contribute to the cure;
Achieve peace and love that will long endure.
- Len Walker