Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Merry Christmas, from my Porch to Yours!

By L.A. Kohl
December 18, 2006
(published in the Dec. 20, 2006 edition of the Bullseye)

I felt the need to stop in the midst of my busy-ness and send all of the Bullseye readers a very heart-felt and genuine “Merry Christmas” greeting. Several of you are so kind to me throughout the year, taking a moment to tell me how much you enjoy reading my article. Some of you even take the time to tell my husband, my children, and my parents when you meet up with them and happen to find out that they’re related to that “Front Porch” lady. Your words of encouragement get back around to me eventually, and I truly do appreciate all of them. And with that being said, I have just a little more to say…

I like life to be peaceful, as perhaps you can tell from the title of my column. However, sometimes I feel a little rebellious…a bit like wagging my finger and yelling out loud. Unfortunately, it even happens occasionally during this wonderful time of year.

Thus, you notice that my greeting to you this week is “Merry Christmas” and not “Season’s Greetings” or “Happy Holidays." Call me intolerant if you want – but sometimes I wonder, does the rest of the country care that they offend people of a Christian heritage on a regular basis? Last time I checked, Christianity was still the predominant religion in America – and yet, we’re the ones who are expected to set aside our traditions and beliefs and tolerate everyone else’s religious beliefs (or disbeliefs, as the case may be.)

And thus, gone is some of the most beautiful Christmas music ever written, from most places of business. Gone are such things as bright stars and angels. And gone are the nativity scenes from nearly all public places.

As I log onto AOL each day to check my email, my opening screen welcomes me with little “holiday” symbols – things like gift wrapped packages, snowmen, and some Hanukkah symbol that I don’t even know what it’s called. I have yet to see a nativity scene on there, and furthermore, I’m 99.9% sure I won’t ever see one on there. Why is it tolerant and acceptable to put a Jewish Hanukkah symbol there – but if they put the time-honored Christian symbol of a nativity on their screen, they’d undoubtedly have someone complain that they weren’t being politically correct and tolerant? It’s not the Hanukkah symbol that bothers me – I have a great respect for people of the Jewish faith. It’s the fact that our society has this double-standard that says, “Let’s be tolerant of everyone’s differing believes and religions – except for people of a Christian heritage…we can just ignore their feelings.”

We personally chose not to celebrate Halloween. We’ve got our reasons – and I know a few other people who have similar reasons. But do I walk up to the checker at the store who’s dressed up like a witch on October 31 and say, “That offends me – I think I shall sue your store.” No way – I assume my beliefs are a personal thing, and it’s not my place to insist that the rest of the world cow-tow to my feelings. So, all I want to ask is: why can’t the rest of the world return the favor? Why do there have to be law-suits and threats over such little things as nativity scenes (and even now, as we saw this month in Seattle – Christmas trees!)?

Thus, my Christmas greeting and wish this year includes an encouragement to all of you to lighten up, relax, and show a little respect for others. If you’re Jewish, go right ahead and wish me a “Happy Hanukkah” – I won’t mind. But I hope you won’t mind if I wish you a cheerful “Merry Christmas” in return.

All I ask is that you don’t give me a generic “Happy Holidays” greeting. I won’t sue or anything, but I may pull out my soapbox and give you an earful.

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