Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Rant #1,347: Merry, Happy ... Whatever

"Merry Christmas."

"Happy Hanukkah."

"Have a nice holiday."

What is correct, all or none of the above?

I have to tell you, this was going to be a simple "Merry Christmas" entry, until yesterday afternoon, when one of my Facebook "friends"--one I have actually met, but honestly don't know well at all--posted something akin to this:

"I wish Merry Christmas to everyone, even my Jewish friends, because I am old school."

Well, I guess that is all fine and good with this person, but it didn't sit too well with me.

I have no problem wishing "Merry Christmas" to those I know celebrate that holiday. Heaven knows I wish most of my co-workers that, even those who never venture to wish me a Happy Hanukkah.

But if you know the person you are addressing is Jewish, and you wish him or her "Merry Christmas," well that just smacks of insensitivity.

To the general public, I usually say, "Have a nice holiday." It is all encompassing.

But I would never wish the general public "Happy Hanukkah," nor would I wish those who I know celebrate Christmas "Happy Hanukkah."

When I voiced my feelings to this person on Facebook, he said that he is simply old school, and he sees nothing wrong with saying "Merry Christmas" to his Jewish friends.

I said to him something akin to, "Are you so old school that you believe in the teachings that "who" murdered Jesus?

Of course he knew exactly what I meant, and it has been a sore spot between the Catholic Church and Jews for centuries, even now, when it supposedly had been obliterated.

For centuries, Catholic teachings said that the Jews murdered Jesus. That thinking was changed in the mid 1960s, when that was not taught anymore, but even though it has been 50 years since that thinking was changed, it is hard to wipe out centuries of this belief in only 50 years.

Anyway, he came back with something to the effect that "Christ died for all of our sins," and I had to take him to task.

I shot back to him, "Christ did not die for MY sins. I am Jewish. We do not believe that he is the Messiah. Our Messiah has not yet come. That is why, even though Christ was Jewish, he broke away from those teachings."

Look, the guy is someone who is nice, but slightly ignorant.

Our two religions are both wonders of the ages, able to withstand pressure from within and without and to thrive.

But something as simple as saying "Merry Christmas" to someone you know is Jewish shows a bit about the greeting giver's character.

The move to simply say "Merry Christmas" to everyone is nice on the outside, but it is kind of cruel on the inside.

Jews do not deny the Christmas holiday, but by saying "Merry Christmas" to us, you are trivializing our holiday, Hanukkah.

And yes, I am still waiting to receive our usual Christmas cards from our relatives. We haven't received them yet, but I know they are coming.

What makes it all the more worse is that tonight is the final night of Hanukkah, and how much you wanna bet we get these cards today?

Anyway, all of this aside, have a nice holiday, have a nice Christmas, and I hope you had a nice Hanukkah if you celebrated that holiday.

And have a nice Kwanzaa too, if that is your direction this holiday season.

I have now covered everyone I am going to cover, and yes, I do feel good about myself and my stance.

We are all alike, yet so, so much different, why not celebrated those differences, especially during the holiday season?

This is my final column until next Monday, so have a great holiday (and happy birthday to my sister on December 26, not only the beginning of Kwanzaa, but Boxing Day too!).

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