The War against Melody’s Birthday
What birthday do Clara Barton, Humphrey Bogart, Jimmy Buffett, Cab Calloway, Carlos Castaneda, Little Richard, Joseph McCarthy, Sir Isaac Newton, Karl Rove, Rod Serling, Sissy Spacek, Gary Sandy, my friends Annie and Lyn and I share that Jesus Christ does not?
And no, Jesus wasn’t born on Christmas Day.
How did the rumor get started that He was born on December 25th? Well, a long time before the “Christian era” (which only Bill O’Reilly thinks was 5000 years ago) the son (or sun) of the Babylonian queen of heaven was said to have been born on that date – ergo, he was the son of God. The Roman Church, noting that the Jesus followers lacked the Sabbaths, new moons, and festivals of the pagans, decided to just take over all of them, thus hoping to incorporate pagans (and also the Persians whose Mithraism embraced the Dec. 25th date) into the newly minted one-god-shopping religion called Christianity. December 25th became Jesus’ official birthday even though the real fellow was probably born sometime in May.
The Church fathers came to this politically correct festival date in order to force the masses to worship one “god” and not all those other smaller ones. Christmas didn’t mark the advent of the real Christianity … that was viewed by the actual Christians as a solemn event celebrated apart from festivals. This Christmas was a popular festival to appease all -- a homogenized, socialist, one-size-fits-all “one world” mega-religion called Christianity. And we in the west, for years afterward, were told we must wish everyone --- everyone – a merry Christmas. Only Ebenezer Scrooge refused and you know what happened to him.
For a few years, the comparative sanity of “Happy Holidays” and “Season’s Greetings” took hold, in observance of the fact that not everyone is a Christian, but the fundamentalist Christians knew that we couldn’t have a spirit of magnanimity and brotherhood at Christmastime for long, so (in some opening salvo of their imagined “war on Christmas”), they insist we all once again start wishing people a “merry Christmas”.
Never mind that a lot of people don’t celebrate it. And many people, if they do celebrate it, observe it as a secular festival and not a religious one. December 25th is not the genuine birth date of any real religious figure. I’m not a pagan either so we can set aside all the tree-worshipping festivities. I’m just your basic American agnostic. “Happy holidays” (or Season’s Greetings), I can live with. I take my birthday off, so it’s a holiday for me. It’s also an event in this season. Ergo, my birthday fits the theme of that greeting – whatever you’re celebrating, by golly, have a jolly one! But to wish me a merry Christmas when I don’t celebrate it? Gee, thanks, that means a lot. It seems to me a singular act of selfishness to force that on somebody else. So much for “freedom of religion”.
In answer to this, I’ve decided that to every person who walks up to me and wishes me (as reflexively as a sneeze) a “Merry Christmas”, I’m going to respond “Happy Birthday!” In response to Christmas cards, I will send birthday cards. When the receiver responds “but it’s not my birthday”, I can say, “well, it’s not really Christmas either but I played along with you!”
The saying goes that the child born on Christmas Day shall know a special fortune.
All people who share a December 25 birthday know is how many stupid permutations there can be of Santa Claus themes on birthday cakes. We know all the happy birthday/Merry Christmas birthday cards on sight and, of course, know all too well the hastily scribbled “and happy birthday!” on our Christmas gift tags. It’s okay – it’s the thought that counts. And we know no one remembers, because everyone is too busy marking the birthday of some guy who wasn’t even born on that date. We’ve become accustomed (as have most Jews and Muslims and Buddhists and atheists, et al) to having our own importance ignored while others foist onto us the trappings of their minority religion’s fake high holy day (which very few people in the world even celebrate).
But if fundies want to imagine a war on Christmas, well, I’m going to meet them with the war on my birthday. If Bill O’Reilly can force his faith on me, I should be able to shove mine back on him, right? I INSIST Christians stop wishing people a Merry Christmas and start wishing them a Happy Melody’s Birthday instead. It’s what important to me, after all, and that's what counts, right?
a necessary addition: Has our country become so ill-educated that we can't understand sarcasm when we read it? OBVIOUSLY I don't expect people to wish me a happy birthday! My point is that my wanting people to wish me a happy birthday is as selfish as people wanting everyone to wish them a Merry Christmas instead of the far more mannerly "Happy Holidays". I really hoped that I wouldn't need to point this out to Op Ed News readers.