Winter Solstice Buddha Painting by Cherie Glasco
Oh, we're knee deep in the holiday season now, aren't we? Hanukkah has passed. The Winter Solstice is upon us, and Christmas and Kwanzaa are coming up this weekend. Of course, it wouldn't be December without claims that there is a War on Christmas (history), debates over whether to use "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays," arguments over the holiday's Pagan/Heathen roots (and even calls to return to the holiday's pagan roots), atheist appeals to reason, astronomical explanations for the Winter Solstice, crying over "Xmas" as crossing Christ out of Christmas, and all sorts of other nonsense.
Are you feeling the holiday warmth now?
Yesterday, I posted my own "reason for the season" on Twitter:
For those who cannot view the image, here is the full text of my tweet: "I hear axial tilt is the reason for the season. Different folks celebrate different things this time of year, but the season is what it is."
Yes, that's right. Jesus is not the reason for the season. Jesus is, however, the reason for a particular celebration (Christmas) that occurs this time of year. And there is nothing wrong with that. I grew up with Christmas. And, although I no longer embrace the Christian religion, I'm not about to try to stamp out the traditions it has evolved with over time. That means I'm not going to join any silly campaign to "take back Yule," or some such thing. It would simply not be feasible for me. I am an Interfaith Minister who happens to follow the Heathen spiritual tradition. So while I choose to celebrate Yule, most of my own family is at least nominally Christian and they celebrate Christmas. And to make matters even more interesting, my wife has more than a passing interest in the Judaic tradition (it's possible her ancestors were Jewish and were forced, one way or another, to convert to Christianity). Besides, no one tradition, no group of people, can own a time of year.
So, say "Merry Christmas!" to me and I'm likely to reply in kind. Wish me a "Blessed Solstice," and I'll smile every time. Greet me with "Joyous Yule!" and I'll toast you and your kin. Just be peaceful and respectful, again and again.
Have a great Chrismahanukwanzakyule, everybody!
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