Day #9 – Religion
I think out of all the posts I have left in this little experiment, this will be the hardest for me. It is mostly do to my current beliefs and how they do not really coincide with the current religious structure. So how do I take a holiday season full of religion and make it positive in my mind? I guess I will just have to take it out of my mind and see if I can write this from a different perspective.
There are a lot of aspects to religion during the holiday season. Most of them I do not think people could even identify. I know my wife would probably like to have a little more music and religion and less of everything else. I can definitely do with a lot less of everything. I think that has been one of my themes throughout these posts is that the holidays could be a lot more by having a lot less. Religion is one part of the holidays that could be a little different. The holidays may need a little more.
I can remember a time when the holidays were about religion. There was a quiet reverence about the holidays that is no longer there. There was caroling and sharing of treats, even the city would have some type of arrangement decorating city hall but that is all gone now. A lot of the reason all of those things are gone is because of religion. Well not exactly, it is the fact that there is supposed to be a separation between church and state. This limited the overall atmosphere that can now be created. Each city has to watch how they decorate so they do not offend any particular religious group. The safest, easiest, and cheapest response was to do nothing. They just stopped everything all together. I am not going to advocate that the cities begin to blur the lines between church and state again, but I do think that there could be some flexibility in this area.
I believe in the other half of this post I said that each religion should get their own time to celebrate and decorate the city. Each religion could put together a board that could oversee it and the religions could pay for it all. That way each religion could have its opportunity to share its religious message to everyone and the city does not have to pay for it. If you think about it, most religions push for peace and tranquility over the holidays. If you were able to get all the major religions to come together and all talk about the same things then it could create quite the atmosphere. Instead, the commercialism of everything that is currently the holidays has killed what we had as children.
Even the church we used to go to has cut back on celebrating during this time. Which is weird, you would think they would want to fill the void the city left. Instead, they are now required from the mother-ship to do a specific program and talk about specific topics. There is very little Christmas music and they do not discuss the Christmas story. Christmas was pushed out just like it has been everywhere else. I guess you can say they are going the same way as everyone else. They are minimizing the holidays and celebrations in order to maintain a more level religious following. For me I would not be disappointed to see a little bit more of the religion put back into the holidays. I want my kids to get to experience these things so they can understand why people celebrate during the holidays. I am not talking about just Christianity, I would like them to know about all the religions. I want them to be able to understand people because ultimately that is what this world is made up of and if we lose sight of that, then we lose part of our humanity.
If we add religion back into the holidays, not only does it give us a chance to understand people who are different than us, but it gives people a chance to share their religious beliefs and traditions. They get to share stories and memories, all tied to how they celebrate the holidays. I know growing up we had a few Jewish students in our school and I know that I never knew that they had very different beliefs than us. I don’t think anyone ever teased them, but I would have loved to understand more about how they celebrated. I think it is all part of the holiday atmosphere that needs to be there. Otherwise, all you have left is the commercial side of the holidays. We are already being over run by commercialism, so why not bring back religion to fill in the space and push back at the businesses that make so much money on these holidays. We can all have a little more peace in our lives and a little less stuff.