Why I Wish You a Merry Christmas

“Happy Holidays” is becoming the only greeting you hear at Christmas. A lot of people whine or mutter about how political correctness is taking over everything including the holidays – yes, I am one of those people – but that’s not why that phrase upsets me.

It is so impersonal!

When I wish someone “Merry Christmas,” I am inviting them to enjoy a holiday I celebrate and love! I don’t get offended when someone tells me “Happy Hanukkah” because that is them extending the specialty of their holiday to me to enjoy!

Hearing “Happy Holidays” tells me that person does not truly care about what or how they are celebrating this year, and they certainly do not care about my celebrations. Happy Holidays is a phrase that can be used any time of year during any holiday season – late winter, spring, summer, etc. The phrase is so general it is almost irrelevant to say.

I actually had this discussion with a co-worker the other night who agreed my reasoning makes total sense. We then began wishing everyone a “Merry Christmas” with positive results. Many people returned the Merry Christmas while others thanked us and wished us Happy Kwanza or Hanukkah or a holiday special to them which I have no idea what it is or can even begin to try to spell! Nobody was offended.

To summarize: I tell people “Merry Christmas” because I want to include everybody in my favorite time of year. I don’t get offended or put off when somebody wishes me the best for their holiday because they are including me in their special time of year.

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The God of Fire

If you never have an imaginary conversation or attempted to plan a conversation with someone in your head, you are lying to yourself. Tonight, my conversation was with someone I love dearly who is now unfortunately brainwashed by a treehugger and with the idiotic treehugger/brainwasher.

At some point, this conversation turned to the world being destroyed by fire by God after the rapture and tribulations and the rest of the prophecies in Revelations. The idiot, in my imaginary conversation, asked how I can I follow a God Who will allow the world to be destroyed. I answered with He is the just God who has had literally billions of His children, throughout history, suffer unimaginable pain and death for their attempts at warning people of the upcoming judgment. The idiot then asked how would I be able to stand seeing the world be destroyed.

I, being me, responded that since I will be seated on the stoop of my personalized mansion, safe from the power of destruction of the fire, I don’t anticipate mourning the destruction of a cursed world. I also pointed out that as a pyro and a firefighter, I love fire. I love watching the beauty of the dancing flames and listening to sound of the fire consuming the fuel.

That got me thinking away from the treehuggers about how appropriate it was that God, the Creator of the universe, will destroy the universe – cursed but still beautiful – with something as beautiful as fire. Fire is the element that with restraint is beautiful and beneficial. Fire is also the element that, when unleashed, is powerful beyond belief and can continue to consume everything that stands in defiance of that power. From there, how appropriate that God appeared as a pillar of fire to guide the Israelites through the wilderness.

He created this universe out of NOTHING. I’m redoing my house right, slowly, so very slowly, but surely. I can have a perfect design in my head, but only based on what I have with which to work. I can draw out my dream house, but only based on what I’ve already seen. Architects can design a new house, but they have to be within codes and regulations based on what has already been done. God designed the world with no previous worlds (that we’ve been told), and it is beautiful even while cursed! Clearly, He has a respect, knowledge, and love of beauty – including in fire.

He also appeared before them as the element that can consume forests and towns and civilizations – as we were reminded recently with Gatlinburg, Tennessee – before it stops or is stopped. The power of fire is uncontested world-wide. Israel was overtaken by fires and aided by other countries who realized the amount of destruction – and the threat to them – of those fires. What better element would the just, powerful, and holy God choose than the purifying fire? Oh yes, fire purifies.

It is truly sad the amount of death in Tennessee right now – people, woods, and animals. However, that area will come back to be even more beautiful and full of life after the impurities have been burned away. Farmers burn away left-over crops and weeds to clean and enrich the soil for a better harvest. We are told a couple different times in the Bible that Christians are being purified through trials the same way fire purifies. The holy God cannot allow sin in His kingdom. When He creates the new world, it will be after the impurities of this world have been burned away.

Yes, I realize God appears as wind or rather a gentle breeze in Biblical accounts as well, but this line of thought focused on the fire and the different characteristics of God we can see through fire.

The last thing we can see through the account of God being the pillar of fire guiding the Israelites: mercy. They were wandering because of their sin. That fire could have been used to consume the entire nation, but God restrained from doing that because while they were wandering as consequence for their sin, they were wandering because God showed mercy and allowed them to live to wander rather than choosing a different people to be His.

We Need a Little Christmas

I was so pumped for Christmas this year. My mama got me Christmas socks to wear. I have had decorations planned since September. A workplace decorated for Christmas. I was ready. 

Cue the Grinches and Scrooges. 

For starters, Christmas cards. 

I have always loved getting and mailing out Christmas cards over the years. I don’t do the annual Christmas letter, but cards pretty to hang up and read. My family always hung them around our bay windows or the sliding doors. I’ve sent cards out the last couple years and always make a point to give them to my co-workers, even the ones who weren’t necessarily fond of me or who annoyed me to no end. This year is no different, or so I thought. 

I have never gotten such surprised and apparently grateful reactions to a simple little Christmas card. One person thanked me more than three times and I actually saw him reading it more than once throughout the day. Others actually have them propped up on their desks or in their drawers, pulling them out periodically during the shift. That is so incredibly sad to me. Then I realized that over the last couple of years, the number of Christmas cards hanging at my parents has dwindled to only close family members. I thought the only reason I got cards only from my grandparents and sometimes my aunt and uncle was because people forgot I had a different mailing address. 

What happened to getting into the Christmas spirit? Something so simple as Christmas cards! I saw on facebook today that someone posted a memory from last year, struggling to get Christmas cards out. The caption was this year they won’t even try. I had just finished writing theirs after an incredibly long and emotionally/mentally hard day at work. 

Work. I had two amazing partners at my old job who not only listened to Christmas music starting with the first snow fall, but one would even sing along! The second would start singing along after Thanksgiving. Sometimes. 12 hours of Christmas music was occasionally a bit much for him until I got CDs with Christmas songs neither of us had ever heard. Now at work, I was told to wait until after Thanksgiving. Fine. The Monday after Thanksgiving, I walk in to find the place decorated for Christmas, which was exciting even if I was not invited to help. I’m still new; I understand. I asked when the Christmas music was going to start and got a lot of whining in reply about how it’s not even December – wait til then. 

It is now the 6th of December, and there is no Christmas music playing. I was basically told today to quit asking. I’m even getting lied to in response at which point I did pull a bit of my EMT experience/RN’s kid voice that puts the most difficult patient, non-psych, in their place. The person cowered a bit and was trying to dig themselves out of their whole as  I walked away.

19 days til Christmas. My co-workers are very quickly draining my Christmas spirit with how much they whine about not only the music but also some of the decorations and their “obligations” not privilege. 

Let’s go back to Christmas cards. I spent probably half an hour trying to find Christmas cards that had anything to do with the Biblical origin of Christmas. I finally found some, but the verses inside are all about peace and justice which I did not realize until I opened them up at home. 

I don’t want to cancel Christmas because let’s face it, in this day and age, the chances of it coming back would be slim to none. However, I will no longer be discussing Christmas at my full-time job. Those Grinches and Scrooges don’t get to have the privilege of joining my celebration of Christmas when they cannot do something so simple as playing Christmas music. Half of them don’t even listen to the music or can tell me what is playing the other 11 months of the year.