Friday, December 7, 2012

The Federal Government Still Calls It Christmas...

While looking at the scheduled Federal holidays for this year and next I noticed something interesting.  First of all, I have thought that the February holiday was now called "Presidents' Day" in honor of the birthdays of both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.  What I learned is that the official title for the holiday is still "George Washington's Birthday".  I must say I was a bit surprised since I worked for the Federal government for 30 years and have called it Presidents' Day for most of my adult life. 

The other thing I found interesting was that the holiday in December - you know the one I'm talking about - that holiday that causes so much turmoil in the United States because some people (a very small majority) take offense to the fact that it's a Christian religious holiday - is actually and officially called "Christmas" on the list of Federal holidays.  I find it even more interesting that it hasn't been changed yet.  I'm sure many attempts have been made to do just that but the 2013 Federal Holiday Schedule is posted below.  As you can see - as of now it's still listed as "Christmas" next year.

Day                                         Date                                        Holiday

Tuesday                                 January 1                               New Year's Day

Monday                                 January 21                             Martin Luther King's Birthday

Monday                                  February 18                          George Washington's Birthday

Monday                                  May 27                                   Memorial Day 
Thursday                               July 4                                      Independence Day

Monday                                  September 2                          Labor Day

Monday                                  October 14                             Columbus Day

Monday                                  November 11                         Veterans' Day

Thursday                               November 28                         Thanksgiving Day

Wednesday                           December 25                         Christmas Day

My point is that with all the turmoil about saying "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas", with Christmas plays being cancelled because of complaints, and with Christian decorations being banned and removed from public places, to date our Federal government not only recognizes Christmas as a holiday but by not changing the title of it, it still is a religious holiday.  Regardless of the commercialization of it and the attempted destruction of it by atheists and others, the actual holiday is still called Christmas by our government, which makes it perfectly reasonable to wish people "Merry Christmas" instead of "Happy Holidays." 

I find the intolerance of the  Christian Christmas holiday laughable and sad at the same time.  It seems non-believers are somewhat thin-skinned.  I have never been offended if a Jewish person wishes me a "Happy Hanukkah" or if I am wished a "Happy Kwanza" by someone who follows those teachings, or by any other person wishing me well on a holiday they celebrate.  I've always believed they are simply attempting to share the happiness of their season/holiday with me.  Why would I be offended by that?  I doubt I'd be offended by an atheist wishing me well on one of their holidays either except they don't have any.  As far as I know they don't have any special days for their own beliefs and since the word "holiday" comes from the root word "holy", it stands to reason they wouldn't call it that anyway.  However, I have never met an atheist who doesn't celebrate the Christmas season (and other holidays) and/or take the allotted time off from work for them as allowed, even if they don't call it "Christmas".  They may be out there but I've never met one.

The bottom line for me is this...  I am not offended if you choose not to celebrate Christmas as the birth of our Lord and Savior.  It's really up to you whether or not you believe that or whether or not you even acknowledge He exists.  But you should understand this - when I wish you a Merry Christmas I'm wishing you the same joy and happiness that I feel during the Christmas season.  My joy comes from knowing and believing in Jesus Christ - his birth, his life, and his sacrificial death for me.  You don't have to be afraid of that joy.  It' possible that it's contagious but I promise it won't hurt you.  And you don't always have to fear things you don't understand.  True Christians are harmless.  Oh, they may try to change your beliefs given the chance, but that won't hurt you either.  In fact, it could very well save your life!

A very Merry Christmas to all. 

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