Oh, Holiday Season. ... you are like a very pretty pebble caught between a silk stocking and the finest of footwear.
Tis the season for people to get tetchy. I'm pretty sure that's a Yiddish word, as the Jewish seem to have the best vocabulary for categorizing annoyances.
The annual online war is being waged: Don't say Happy Holidays to me, I'm Christian! Don't say Merry Christmas to me, I'm Pagan! Don't put your Jesus in my neighborhoods secular display! Don't put your Santa in my manger! What the hell is Eid?
I have to say that most of the Jews I know just stay out of the whole mess, keep their heads down, and have beautiful Hannukah celebrations despite the rest of us.
I try to stay out of it, or at least keep it funny. (That's my philosophy for a lot of things.) I don't turn down a blessing of goodwill and cheer, no matter what flavor of faith it comes from. I try to peg my own blessings based on the person; and I hope that when I fail and say Merry Christmas to a non believer, they'll take it in the spirit that it was intended.
This is the time of year, though, when I receive the most questions and commentary on my own faith. Mostly it's people who want to say the right thing, and that's sweet. Sometimes it's not, and that's irritating, but I figure it this way:
If God said for the people who were sure of their faith in him to go forth and prostelytize... well. God's a tricky bugger, and a bit more cynical than me... but I know that when I send a kid out to teach something, what I'm really looking for is for them to learn something new. Maybe this whole 'GO FORTH and SPEAK the word of GOD' thing is just as much for the preacher as the heathen. (Heathen: one who lives on a heath. Not: ONe who doesn't believe in God, eats babies for dinner, worships Satan. See where I'm going with this?)
Does this mean I sit down to for coffee with every evangelical-mormon-watchtower-passing-free-love-hippie that comes along, and try to sway them to my point of view? No. I'm not that bored.
If I were going to, ahem, express my views on the holiday season, though, it would go something like this:
This is the season of the dimming of the light. This is the time of cold winds and ice storms. Nothing grows now. This is when the shadows and darkness take over the world. This time is a test. Will you light your own candle, and have faith in it? Can your undying devotion turn that tiny flame in to the resurgance of something greater than itself?
Your light can be Jesus, or God, or Santa. Your light can be Krampus, the Sun, or magical oil that burns for days. Your light can be the Hadron Collider at CERN. You can call your light whatever you want. It doesn't matter, as long as you light the candle, and have faith in it. As long as you beat back the shadows for another year.