Christmas, light on the Christ...

So apparently my attempts to carry two jobs and still try to sleep normal hours while pouring hot caffeinated deliciousness down my gullet to stay awake through training to learn how to ask diners if they want wedge or waffle fries has contributed to slight bouts of insomnia.  While this has been great for catching up on “Home Improvement” and “House,” it has proved detrimental in my attempts to have normal daily habits.

This brings me to being awake at 3:30 am and checking a few of my standard websites when I decided to see if my friend had added a new diary post.  In my elation to read her latest work, she touched on an issue that I feel very strongly about.

A few things about myself that may provide insight into my background:

-In the last three elections I have participated in, I have voted for both Democrats and Republicans to hold important offices, but still consider my ideologies to be fairly conservative

-I am Catholic, albeit not the most pious one.  However, I feel that the celebration of Christmas is to be represented as the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, not the celebration of “Macy’s Super Saturday Sale for one time bargains” that follows the birth of Jesus Christ.  I feel that waiting in line to get into midnight mass is much more beautiful and important than waiting in line to get into Best Buy at 5 am the day after Thanksgiving.

-I live with a father who listens to and reads Rush Limbaugh, a younger sister who despises all things Obama, a mother whose work in the education field exposes her to rhinovirus and mothers who believe that feeding their kids twice a day is too much cause baby clothes are too darn expensive, and another sister who is basically a parrot.

While the first point is probably not terribly introspective and the third point just details the fact that if you visit my house you should probably wear a helmet, the second point has always been something that sticks in my craw.

As I said, I believe that this time of year should exist as a celebration of fundamental beliefs and not 2-for-1 sales and “Extended Shopping Hours!”  Now, I am not going to say that I boycott sales due to the holiday season, and I firmly understand their purpose (I’m actually quite pleased with the fact that I got a new pair of running shoes for a substantial discount).  It just saddens me that the more I look around today, the less I see of people celebrating the holidays for their intended purpose.

In one of my jobs, I work for a company based south of the Mason-Dixon line that is fairly conservative in its values.  In the gift shop, we sell several different Christmas collections and play lots of holiday music, but, aside from a few Nativity sets, very few items in these collections actually depict Christ (There are actually more items that feature cardinals, and I don’t mean the kind in funny robes).  After some guests were done eating, one of them felt it necessary to ask me about my feeling of Christmas celebrating the birth of Christ and how I felt about people removing Christ from Christmas.  This got me thinking: where CAN you still see the true meaning of Christmas anymore?

In downtown Indianapolis, Monument Circle is transformed into the World’s Largest Christmas Tree.  Surrounding the tree are several concrete columns depicted as nutcrackers and candy canes.  Radio stations are constantly spinning tunes such as “Jingle Bells” and “Deck the Halls” and there are many wonderful depictions of Santa Claus and reindeer in storefront windows along the sidewalks.  “Frosty the Snowman” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” will soon hit the airwaves to really begin the season.

Unfortunately, not a one of these holiday traditions makes a single allusion to the birth of Christ!  It is sad when the best way to learn the true meaning of Christmas is encapsulated in a speech by Linus Van Pelt.  It is also sad that, as of today, the only way I have been able to watch “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is off my flash drive and not actually on television.  Several of our beloved Christmas songs and traditions have absolutely nothing to do with Christ!  This makes me sad due to the incredible sterilization of this time of year.

Now, I know I have only talked about Christmas, but even if you want to look for Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, good luck.  Besides Adam Sandler randomly being played on my sister’s laptop last weekend, I have seen hardly a thing about Hanukkah this season, which is unfortunate because, unlike Christmas, it maintains its original meaning to its celebrants much better.

In no way am begging or petitioning for a manger on every street corner or Gabriel to follow every virgin around.  I just wish people understood that true meaning of saving $20 on a sweater they bought at Nordstrom’s this month.  Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or Ramadan, take a few moments this year to think about the REAL reasons these holidays exist.

This weekend I plan on attending a concert that I myself performed in many times as a teenager.  It was one place where I feel the original meaning of this season was truly appreciated, and I loved performing music that celebrated not only the birth of Christ but also the miracle of Hanukkah and foundations of peace and harmony.  I can only hope that this year it still maintains its traditions of the season when I attend Friday.