Elizabeth Sandoval’s Holiday Greetings | WBEZ
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Eight Forty-Eight

Elizabeth Sandoval's Holiday Greetings

Think playing cards for your soul is scary? Well, imagine if a simple greeting could determine whether or not you wind up in social purgatory? Writer Elizabeth Sandoval explains.

Tis the season to believe... whatever it is that you believe. If you are a supremely rational Humanist, you are likely rejoicing this season, not in the celebration of Christ's birth, but in your East Coast ad campaign that boasts, "Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness' sake."

The American Humanist Association recently forked over $40,000 to advertise this statement on city busses in Washington, D.C.
Their British counterparts last month advertised, "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life."

And then there are the millions of us--the misfits--who go around saying the ever-inflammatory words, "Merry Christmas." 

The nerve. We deserve to be decked - in the halls.

Now, all sarcasm aside, I am just perplexed.  Because I don't know about you, but I have yet to see a seasonal ad campaign that reads: "Believe in Christmas. Or else."

Let me clarify something for any Humanists out there, or anyone else who may be miffed by the prolific usage of the words "Merry Christmas."
Not all Merry Christmas-ers are out to convert you.  I mean yes, many of us secretly wish that you believed in the power behind these two words, but we love you regardless of whether you do or not. 

Some of my dearest friends include Tony, whom I've known since the first grade.  Tony, a Chinese Buddhist, has an altar to Buddha in his house. He, incidentally, calls me to wish me a Merry Christmas.  I'm always touched that while our beliefs may not be the same, he uses the words "Merry Christmas" to celebrate the season, and to commemorate this day which so many of his friends cherish.

Mike, a close friend of mine for years, was an agnostic.  He was always seemingly touched by my Christmas sentiments.  He celebrated the holiday with his loved ones--exchanging gifts and all--, yet without acknowledging the person of Jesus Christ.  But again, he himself used the words "Merry Christmas".

I could go on and on.

But to spend tens of thousands of dollars on ad campaigns that merely intend to illustrate an opposing view of what the masses believe, seems a bit juvenile and unnecessary. 

Humanists would claim that they are not necessarily arguing the existence of God, but are trying to stop believing without proof.
But what "bad" can there be in wishing someone a God-infused, love-powered, warm and fuzzy holiday?

Here's to the hope that if someone "Merry Christmas"-es you, and you believe not in Christ, but in something else or nothing else, that you accept this overture as an expression of love, and not one of judgment. 
And, even more importantly, to those who would "Merry Christmas" another person, make sure you're doing it out of love, and not out of judgment.  After all, this is truly the meaning of Christmas that you so openly celebrate.  Don't give God, or the rest of us, a bad name.

But whatever you believe, why not try to spread your message by actually loving a person and not relying on words on the side of a bus or inside of a Christmas card?  Because no matter what side of the issue you're on, talk is cheap.

Merry Christmas.

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