Sunday in Outer Blogness: The Reason for the Season Edition!
I know it’s only December sixth, but it seems the “War on Christmas” starts earlier and earlier every year! As usual, the Christmas-warriors are trying to ruin everyone’s jolly holiday with their death-worshiping kitsch. Then there’s one of my personal favorite holiday traditions: lamenting how commercial Christmas has become. Rosalynde Welch gives us some historical perspective on this custom that dates back, oh, probably a thousand years or so. That said — aside from the little historical-claims snafu — those Advent Conspiracy guys are totally right, check it out! (Julie M. Smith’s non-holiday-related historical perspective post is also interesting.)
Now, I doubt I’ll offend anyone here by pointing out that Christmas (and its most ancient traditions) were not invented by or for Jesus or His followers. But Christians have as much right as anyone else to interpret this festive holiday season in terms of their own beliefs. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, see this History Channel video and/or my post on Santa Claus.) For me (and BYU Agnostic), the season is about good will to all, and especially appreciating the variety of joyous traditions that different people celebrate.
Sadly, some would prefer to limit their good will to those who correctly identify as part of their in group. The my-holiday-vs-yours thing has gone beyond verbal complaints to threats, and my new adopted country (Switzerland) has bizarrely decided to outlaw some traditional Muslim houses of worship. (The incredibly loud and frequent church bells I heard from my apartment in Zrich weren’t that annoying, but I see them a little differently now, given this double-standard.) Not all Christians are so hostile to other faiths, though. Looks like the CoJCoL-dS helped fund a Krishna temple in Utah, and (strangely enough) are getting flack for this neighborly gesture.
Well, enough of this complaining. Let’s move on to the jolly holiday posts people have put up! The Urban Koda is becoming a hero for kids and others who like a little kid-at-heart in their holiday decorations. Then look at these heart-warming sentiments from Christmas past and Christmas present. Near to my own heart: Trax is celebrating ten years of efficient public transportation! And gift ideas? Sterkworks has some great ones! Mike Clawson encourages you to buy fair-trade. Or, better yet, give to Kiva!
The Holidays are all about family togetherness. And, unsurprisingly, there have been a number of posts about how to celebrate family events in a mixed-faith family. Agnostic Mormon attends his daughter’s baptism. Cr@ig gives advice to someone who loves church but is married to someone who doesn’t. La is tempted to rejoin the church for the social aspect, especially for her kids. Some Mormons have started a petition to get the CoJCoL-dS to universalize the civil-marriage-plus-temple-marriage option that exists in many countries — A fantastic idea, not only for family unity, but also for helping people grasp the difference between a spiritual covenant and a legal contract. Sadly, not all families are able to work it out. Here’s hoping your family finds love and cheer this season.
Happy Holidays, everyone! 😀