Before I write and post about my thoughts on the Jubilee of Mercy that began on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, I wanted, no, needed to get this out of my system.
At some point, this will get back to my Facebook, and so I want to include this disclaimer for anyone who sees themselves in this screed.
This is not directed at any one person or any group of people. When I’ve seen these posts on my Facebook, they are from such a wide range of beliefs, political views, and religious affiliations that I started to see it as satire. The people who post these, I believe, are truly afraid of losing something. I honestly don’t understand it, but I know these people, and it saddens me to watch so many of them, not only posting these, but believing that they are true.
I can think of ten posts in the last two days that this might pertain to. For me, it might be a camel’s back sort of thing that pumped me up, so please do not be offended. And as usual, my disclaimer is longer than the entire thought.
As I moved from one marginalized group (Jewish) to another seemingly marginalized one (Catholic), I discovered the same thoughts of the presence of discrimination towards them. That isn’t to say that either group is wrong – in many ways we are all others to someone else, and when that happens we feel that. Although honestly, Christians are the least marginalized groups out there; of course unless you’re Catholic, Mormon, Jehovah’s Witness, Seventh Day Adventist, African or Arab.
A lot of that stems from the attempts to include our various religions in our local (and national) government and the fact that many of us would prefer to keep it separate since you can’t possibly include everyone. For example, I’m okay with a decorated tree for the season, but I draw the line at a creche. (Yes, I still believe this even after my conversion.) A menorah, I’m on the fence about. As a Jewish person, the menorah is a religious symbol. When I taught preschool, and the kids made menorahs, mine were the only ones without a Star of David. I didn’t think sending home the Jewish star was appropriate, just like if a teacher sent home a crucifix as an art assignment for my children.
In all of the schools my kids attended, I’ve felt welcome and included for the most part. In our first school district, the school held an annual assembly – a holiday sing-a-long. I don’t recall if they called it holiday or Christmas, but it included more than Christmas songs. Most were secular, but they did throw in Silent Night and Away in a Manger in additon to Jingle Bells and Santa Claus is Coming to Town. The principal wore reindeer antlers and played the piano, and it was a wonderful, beautiful, small town in the city community gathering. I loved it, and after we changed school districts, we returned for that sing-a-long assembly for a couple of years after.
But recently, on my Facebook, and other places on the Internet that I usually ignore, there seems to be this thought of anti-Christian, anti-American bias that I’m just not seeing in reality.
Facebook does not suppress religious photos or patriotic photos. You’re not prohibited from saying Merry Christmas and G-d Bless America, so please, say it and post it to your heart’s content. Just please stop saying that you’re posting it in defiance of some imaginary Facebook TOS rule.
The Internet is indeed Real Life. When I started in 2008, there was that distinction. That line has been obliterated as we use our online presences for almost everything in our lives from communicating with our jobs and schools to holiday cards and birthday greetings. Online, offline, it is all part of us and our socializing in today’s world.
So, post your greetings whatever they might be. If I agree with them or like the cute picture of polar bears skiing, I’ll share it. Or I won’t. But posting it is not defiant. In fact, it is conforming and ordinary.
Creches and Nativity scenes. American flags and bald eagles. Religious posts, atheist posts. Wiccans and Solstice, Druidic prayers and Pope Francis’ words of wisdom.
Post them, don’t post them. Share them, don’t. I don’t care, (clearly I do, but really I don’t), but please stop telling me that Facebook cares what we post and will take it down so we must post three thousand American flags in a row or two thousand fifteen nativity scenes, not to mention that it’s still Advent – who is that in your manger?
No one is taking your guns. In fact, you’ve had more gun freedom under President Obama than the last two presidents (probably more than that).
He also is not taking too many vacation days. He’s used the least amount of vacation days of any president in this generation. We go to Long Island for Thanksgiving; he goes to Hawaii. That’s home.
He’s approved the least pardons.
He’s also Christian. Evangelical as a matter of fact.
Hillary Clinton might not be your cup of tea, but she’s not stupid and she didn’t murder an ambassador.
Do you know what I’ve been hearing at my church for the last couple of weeks? And not just from the priest and deacon, but from your run of the mill parishioners? Jesus and the Holy Family were refugees. Just like the Syrians. Except they were Jewish. Just like the ones we didn’t want and sent back in WWII. Escaping tyranny with only the clothes on their backs. Swaddling clothes in His case.
So play your Christmas carols, post your freedoms, but know that they’re not being taken away. Not sharing is not prohibiting. Saying Happy Holidays is inclusive, not EXclusive. It is for everyone – not so they’re not offended, but because we love them and they love us and they want to express that without getting a lecture on how they’re not Jewish or Christian or that they’re Wiccan and celebrate a secular Christmas, etc.
Christmas is about more than the birth of Christ. Advent and the Incarnation of Christ is in tandem with Lent and Easter. Christ is to be born in order to fulfill the prophecy that leads Him to Calvary and his Death so he can be born again. He dies for our sins, and is resurrected for our salvation.
But more than that, it is about what he said in John 13:34-35: “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
It’s so important that he repeats it in John 15:12. “This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.”
Season’s Greetings, Friends, and a Blessed and Happy New Year ❤