It’s just about the beginning of Advent, which triggers my annual month of grouchiness and grumbling. I love what Advent is meant to be, but the month of endless parties and conspicuous consumption it actually is leaves me frustrated. This month of being bombarded with decorations, get-togethers, and faceless crowds 1 is a introvert’s nightmare.
I’ll not be writing my typical appeal for folks to consider celebrating Advent this year. Instead I want to comment on social media posts which began popping up earlier than usual in 2018 2. They go something like this,
I’m going to be saying Merry Christmas, share if you agree.
These posts are often accompanied with the following logic:
- Saying “Merry Christmas” pisses off liberals, who are afraid of offending people.
So by saying “Merry Christmas” we can stick it to them.
Because that’s what Jesus would have done?
Look, I don’t give a crap what well-wishing people voice to me over this next month. Like I said, I go through December as a grumpy and jittery mess whose nerves are shot 3. If someone takes time to wish me well, even if that well-wishing points to a holiday I don’t celebrate, it is a moment where I can exhale and regain some semblance of healthy connectedness with my fellow human beings 4. Say “Merry Christmas” all you want to me 5 – or say “Happy Holidays 6” – my response will be, “Thank you, you too 7.”
Why will I do this? Because it’s not only people who are like me that deserve respect as the image of God. It’s everyone. And if we’re more interested in fighting a culture war which makes us feel validated than recognizing God’s image in the world all around us, then we’re wrong. And I wonder if the faith we claim to hold isn’t in vain 8.
- In which everyone is in a hurry. ↩
- Probably because the Mueller probe is winding down, and getting people pre-emotively angry about something else is a good slight of hand distraction. ↩
- Sometimes I feel as though I’m cursed with the ability to absorb the stress of others. ↩
- It’s a blip against the flood, but it’s a real blip. ↩
- Which, admittedly, is easy for me to hear as it’s the holiday I celebrate. ↩
- Or “Happy Chanukah,” or “Happy Winter Solstice.” ↩
- And then after I’ve exhaled some stress via the avenue of genuine gratitude I’ll turn and look at the gaudy holiday decorations and return to feeling overwhelmed. ↩
- Not the actual faith, mind you, just the bad copy we’ve made for ourselves ↩