Merry Christ-Mas

I love being Jewish at Christmas.

I get to sit back and watch all the crazyass psycho-family pressures and emotional blackmailing and consumer frenzy and go, hm. Those crazy Christians are at it again.

Now please. Don’t tell me you’re “not Christian.” You have a Christmas tree, no? You go home to your family to share dinner on Dec. 24? You are Christian. It has nothing to do with what you “believe” or whether you go to church. I don’t go to the synagogue (much), or believe that Moses parted the sea. But I am Jewish (with a heavy emphasis on the ish). My upbringing and 5,000 years of cultural inheritance had a huge part in making me who I am today. You were born and raised in a Christian culture, with Christian traditions and values. I was not. And although we share Judeo-Christian roots we are not the same. Just because you are part of the cultural majority (here in Canada) does not mean you don’t have a culture; like a fish swimming in water doesn’t see the water. It’s all around you. You have to be outside it to see it.

And don’t give me that “but the Christmas tree is really a Pagan thing” crap. You can say Christmas is Pagan in origin, but every northern culture has a festival of lights around the solstice, and every animistic religion pays tribute to the trees and the animals (and some, to the rocks and the sky). And some other tradition came before and influenced the Pagans. And Judaism grew out of other Semitic traditions, and Christianity grew out of Judaism. It doesn’t matter, it’s not about seniority. And there’s no copyright, you are free to embellish and re-invent as you like.

Whatever speaks to you and inspires you is relevant. Whatever path causes you act with integrity is valid. Pagan influences neither contradict nor legitimizes Christian rituals. If you want to have a Christmas tree have a Christmas tree, and be proud of it.

You’re Christian. You don’t have to take responsibility for it, you didn’t create it. But acknowledge it. And don’t be ashamed to share the parts of it that still speak to you with your friends who may not be of that culture.

Yes please, I would like a slab of fruitcake, thank you very much. My mother made a great fruitcake, with the red ang green cherries and all — and she was as Jewish as they come. Go figure.

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