Don’t define Christmas so narrowly

"Leave room for those who celebrate Christmas in a different way and those who do not celebrate it at all."

 

Dear Sir:

Having returned home for the holidays, I grabbed a copy of the Dec. 21, 2016 issue of The Terrace Standard expecting to catch up on what was happening in my hometown. Instead, I was saddened to find myself confronted with half a page of intolerance.

While I respect Mr. Krisinger’s frustration at feeling that he and his loved ones may not have the time to celebrate Christmas in the way they would like, he does not leave any room for other ways of observing this holiday or any of the many others that occur during the month.

Sure, some people have gotten caught up in the increasingly competitive and consumerist nature of the holiday, but it is their right to celebrate however they want.

Christmas is a mix of customs and beliefs (Christian, pagan, secular, etc.) and it varies wildly from person to person. There is no wrong way to observe the holiday, and the idea that only good Christians know what this date is really “about” seems to me to be contrary to that whole “good will toward men” thing you hear about in the Bible (or in A Charlie Brown Christmas for us heathens).

Speaking of dates, the assessment that “the world changed the whole calendar around [the birth of Christ]” is problematic and incorrect. It seems that way now because European domination and colonialism forced their system on others until it became the most widespread, but calling Jesus’ birth the “hinge of all human history” ignores much of history (and a good chunk of the world).

In addition to Christmas, December plays host to a number of other celebrations this year, including Jewish, Buddhist, and secular holidays.

True, Christmas is the only one recognized as a statutory holiday, but by deciding to classify it as such, our multi-faith country has secularized it.

Finally, while no one is disputing an individual’s right to say “Merry Christmas”, saying it to “all readers” ignores the fact that people of other faiths (and those who don’t subscribe to any faith) live in our community.

By all means continue saying Merry Christmas to those who you know observe the holiday, but leave room for those who celebrate Christmas in a different way and those who do not celebrate it at all.

 

Laura How,

Terrace, B.C.

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