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​I say ......... Merry Christmas; by Joseph S. Bonsall (from 2003)

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  • ​I say ......... Merry Christmas; by Joseph S. Bonsall (from 2003)

    I say ......... Merry Christmas
    by Joseph S. Bonsall

    I wrote this little poem three years ago as part of a failed song writing attempt.

    We put up a little manger, in the middle of our town.
    We put a baby Jesus on some straw and laid him gently on the ground.
    There were Joseph and Mary, shepherds and kings and beautiful angels all
    Then, the powers that be said; “ No?”
    They made us take the whole thing down!

    OK, there are better poems, however, the point is that since I wrote this little rhyme things have become even more out of hand. And I must admit, I really find it amazing. In fact, I am astounded! Not just offended; astounded!

    Today I was interviewed by a news reporter who was covering our approaching Christmas show in her town and the dialogue between us was amazing. This so politically correct woman would NOT say the word Christmas under any circumstance at all. As for me, I wouldn’t quit saying it.

    ”So how many holiday songs will you be singing?”

    ”Our Christmas set runs about ninety minutes,” I answered.

    ”Is this your first holiday tour?”

    ”We have been doing a Christmas tour for fifteen years.”

    ”What is your message for the Holiday Season?”

    ”Ummmmmmm?? HOW ABOUT MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!! ? ?”

    On and on it went. I believe this woman believed that if she uttered the word Christmas she just might evaporate and pass on into some Hilary Clinton-esque plane of existence wherein all people are what? Black? Hispanic? Muslim? Homosexual? Oprah? Tim Robbins? Al Gore? Al Franken? Whatever!

    The cable news channels keep reporting that Americans are holiday shopping and buying holiday gifts. The talking heads are all talking about online holiday e-sales? This should be a great holiday season! This has been your holiday report; ... have a good one!


    Sheeeshhh! I want to gag!
    At least the constant Happy Holidays greeting is far better than that age-old Merry Xmas thing. We had that goofy saying way before the PC Police. It made Christ look like an algebra equation.

    Look, I have no bones to pick over how anyone lives their life, or celebrates a season, but what I do not understand is why these liberal types keep trying to tear down our own precious traditions, while at the same time urging others to wear their heritage on their sleeves and tee shirts.

    Are you gay? Well, be proud! You go, guy! Stand up and march and get married!

    Are you a hyphenated American? Then be proud of your heritage. Don’t forget where you came from. Speak your native language. Observe your native customs.

    But, what about my customs? I grew up as a white male who was taught that God should be an important part of my life and that I should love my country. I was taught that things are black and white; right or wrong; up or down. Not all gray and blurry! I was told that if I worked hard, sacrificed, treated people right, honored GOD, and always told the truth that I would succeed. I was taught to honor our flag and our soldiers.

    I was raised up loving CHRISTMAS!!! THAT is part of MY tradition. I sing Christmas songs, put up a Christmas tree, and give Christmas presents paid for by my Christmas bonus! I believe that Santa Claus comes on Christmas morning, and I read The Christmas Story from my BIBLE on Christmas Eve!!

    Somehow, that makes me the bad guy to a liberal; very dangerous man to be avoided at all costs; I might even own a gun. Well... I do!

    I have a newsflash for the loud mouths in this nation who would change every bit of my upbringing to fit into their agenda! Most Americans feel the way I do about it.

    Every night on stage when I mention Christmas, people cheer! When The Oak Ridge Boys sing about our flag and our soldiers, people stand up and cheer!

    OK; I’ll admit that our little singing group does not draw a huge part of the Black or Islamic populous; however, I still raise a valid point. In a few more years, if Barbara Streisand and Sean Penn get their way the blue part of the political map may overwhelm the red; but not yet, Bucko!

    I am happy to report that I also did an interview recently with a Jewish woman who loved the Oaks and comes to our Christmas show every year. Christmas is not really her holiday, however, she still enjoyed the music. And I don’t believe she finds anything that we do the least bit offensive. She even uttered the secret word, CHRISTMAS!

    I also respect her beliefs. She seemed to be a very happy woman. There we were chatting away and talking about common ground. Wow, what a concept. You know, this IS America and everyone has the right to his or her own way of doing things; from the way they worship to the way they do anything else that is within the limits of the law. At its very core, that is what FREEDOM is all about!

    But, I’ll tell you, I just can’t figure out why some people get so doggone up in arms over Christmas being, well ... Christmas! How did all of this come to pass?

    For that matter, why do so many folks make such an issue out of separation of Church and State, which is NOT, by the way, written anywhere into our constitution. What are they afraid of? The Ten Commandments? The Nativity Scene? God? If a person is really an atheist, then God is not a factor in their life or beliefs anyway. So why should it matter to them?

    I am not a Hindu but millions of people in this world believe they might die and someday come back as a cow. Fine with me. I don’t fear Hindus. If they had a holiday and I had a Hindu buddy, I would happily buy him a Happy Hindu gift and wish him a very Happy Hindu! The same with Ramadan and Kwanza (a tradition which dates all the back to around 1966!).

    Many people today are so concerned that someone will be offended by something we say or do. It’s as if people of other origins are constantly ready to be offended. Are they? Are they really? If the answer is no; then WHO IS MAKING UP THESE RULES? Who is really self-centered enough to become a card carrying member of the PC police? If they are people in power, and many are, they pass their silly rules on to everyone who is associated with them. That is very unsettling!

    OK! Send this memo out today. No one is allowed to say CHRISTMAS on the air or in print or around the office. And always remember to use your hyphens. Now go on to work! Enjoy a HAPPY Holidays! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!


    Comedian and commentator Dennis Miller once said, “America is the great melting pot ... so MELT already!”

    I concur with Dennis; lighten up!

    I grew up in Philadelphia, PA. I was a child of the fifties, and I came of age in the sixties during a time of impending war and assassination. The very air was supercharged, and Civil Rights was a very volatile and important issue that caused a lot of violence and mayhem, in my own neighborhood and beyond.

    When the race riots hit downtown I was playing baseball with my friends, Shawn and Harvey, who were black. On that same field were Harry and Paul who were Jewish, as well as Freddie and Jimmy who were Italian, and Johnny who was Irish, and Eric who was German. Larry was Greek, I think. But, hey, we were buddies. I may have been the only Protestant among them.

    My Jewish buds wore little black hats, worshipped in a synagogue on Saturday; and my Catholic friends took catechism and went to mass and confession. I actually thought my religion was much easier. I just went to church and said my prayers.

    However, we were a team. We were FRIENDS! We talked to each other and consoled each other and learned from each other. Despite all of the outside forces that would try to tear us apart, in our hearts, we were all just Philly boys. A small army, who unloaded on each other, loved each other, and would stand up and fight for each other. We fought, we forgave, we laughed, and we cried: TOGETHER, as ONE! We melted!

    We were just kids and maybe that is where the answer lies. Somewhere along the way we grow up and lose sight of the magic of childhood. Author Stephen King once said “you could see it in the eyes.” People lose that ‘flicker’, that ‘spark’ of childhood. The child inside has died! Everything has become way too serious. We are adults 100% of the time, and that is very sad.

    You know, I believe the little baby was born in that manger, and I believe that the angels sang. My faith tells me that He also grew up to say, “Except that we become as little children we can NOT see the kingdom of God.”

    So there you go. That must be the answer: a child-like faith. Maybe we need a little more of that. We may not see an angel, or witness a miracle, or hear HIS voice (although we might). I know one thing. We could learn to become much more tolerant of one another. Then, perhaps, we would not see God as such a threat to our political well-being. We would learn there is more to life than that. Like a sunset or a fresh snow or a tulip or a bluebird; or even Santa Claus.

    Maybe we all need to sit down again and watch Miracle On 34th Street and It’s A Wonderful Life again and try to remember what it was that made us fill up with emotion when we saw that cane in the house by the fireplace, or when Zuzu’s pedals fell out of George Bailey’s pocket. Admit it, it got you once!

    Yes, the world is a crazy and dangerous place so why make it any worse? Wake up that little boy or girl who is lying dormant. Give God a chance in your life no matter how you visualize him.

    Climb a tree! Ride your bike! Holler at the moon! Believe in magic. Expect a miracle! “Yes, Virginia ... there is a Santa Claus.” And remember, the birth of Jesus Christ is the real reason we celebrate CHRISTMAS! That is all part of my tradition!

    That is why I say ......... Merry Christmas!

    Joseph S. Bonsall
    December 1, 2003

  • #2
    Wow, and to think I actually believed, at first, that the intent of this thread was simply to offer a sincere greeting.


    • skeptic
      skeptic commented
      Editing a comment
      Nope; this is the Politics and Religion Forum; it is where this belonged. The simple holiday greetings are under the more general forum above.

    • packsaddle
      packsaddle commented
      Editing a comment
      Yeah, my mistake.

  • #3
    My dad back in the 1950's sang in an all men's chorus at the Methodist Church. Of course they did the Christmas Concert thingy and afterwards the church distributed Christmas hams to all the members of the chorus. One problem, one of the members of the chorus was Jewish. Christmas might have been a stretch, but a HAM? OMG! I remember being there one year when they with all the fanfare possible presented him with his ham! He graciously accepted it just like everyone else, but what he did was after the concert he would stop by one of the needy families in the community and give them a ham for Christmas. For a Jewish guy, he knew more about Christmas than us regular Christians....

    50 years have passed and it's one of my best Christmas memories ever.



    • #4
      Ya know—If a good many christians in this nation would stop and think they'd realize that most people don't have a problem with “Merry Christmas” per say. The problem arises when I'm expected to wish Christians a Merry Christmas, even though I don't celebrate Christmas and worse, that I cannot wish Christans a “Blessed Solstice” of “Joyous Yule,” which happen to be MY holidays because it offends them!
      No one is trying to “tear down your traditions.” Rather, they have simply recognized that others have traditions that are different than your own. I do not go Christmas Shopping; Christians do not go Festivus Shopping, however, BOTH groups do engage in HOLIDAY SHOPPING, thus advertising “Holiday Sales” is entirely approperate since the retailer wishes to have everyone inside shopping.
      But, what about my customs?” You ask. Well, What about my customs? What if I insisted that you work Christmas every year, but you got Yule off instead? You'd likely be just as unhappy as I am currently.
      People don't want mangers in public squares, because a good many other religions, who also have holidays in December, are not permited to erect their own religious displays. Policies should be simple; either every religon with a holiday gets to put up a display, or the display can have no religious elements. That's what happens when you are being treated EQUALLY, not persecuted, just treated EQUAL to other citizens.
      Because we live in a nation rich in cultural and ethnic diversity it is important to remember that not everyone is celebrating Christmas this holiday season. Currently, I am aware of 21 other holidays that occur this month:
      1. Bodhi Day
      2. Boxing Day
      3. Chalica
      4. Donghi Festival
      5. Dzon'ku 'Nu
      6. Feast of Winter Veil
      7. Festivus
      8. Hanukkah
      9. Human Light
      10. Inti Raymi
      11. Junkanoo
      12. Kwanzaa
      13. New Years Eve
      14. Newtonmas
      15. Pancha Ganapati
      16. Saturnalia
      17. Sewy Yelda
      18. Winter Solstice
      19. Watch Night
      20. Yule
      21. Zarathosht Diso
      I’m sure there are more December holidays that I’m not aware of. Regardless of how many or how few there are, it is important to wish those around us “Happy Holidays” because you may not know just which holiday they will be celebrating this December.


      • packsaddle
        packsaddle commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks, there are a couple there I've never heard of. Time to do some more reading.

      • NeverAnEagle
        NeverAnEagle commented
        Editing a comment
        Which of these isn't real?

        1. Bodhi Day—December 8th, the day of Buddha’s Enlightenment; 550 BCE
        2. Boxing Day—December 26th, A day to give to the poor; Bohemian, 10th Century.
        3. Chalica—Week long holiday starting the 1st Monday in December centering on Unitarian vales. 2005.
        4. Donghi Festival—Chinese Winter Solstice; celebration is as old as the sun
        5. Dzon'ku 'Nu—December 22nd; West African Solstice Celebration
        6. Feast of Winter Veil—December 26th thru January 2nd; World of War Craft (gamers have holidays too!)
        7. Festivus—December 23rd; Festivus was conceived by O'Keefe and was first celebrated in 1966.
        8. Hanukkah—Date varies from year to year; Jewish, 2nd Century BC
        9. Human Light—December 23rd—Humanist; 2001
        10. Inti Raymi—Festival of the Sun; Incan Impire; Celebration shared with Sothern Hemisphere Catholics since 1535.
        11. Junkanoo—December 26th; Bahamas 1600’s
        12. Kwanzaa—December 26th to January 1st; Western African Diaspora 1966.
        13. New Years’ Eve—December 31st; Roman, 45 BC
        14. Newtonmas—December 25th; Atheist Celebration, 1890.
        15. Pancha Ganapati—December 21st to December 25th; Hindu 1985
        16. Saturnalia—December 17th to December 23rd; Roman/Greek, 217 BC
        17. Sewy Yelda—December 20th; Persian, As old as the Sun
        18. Winter Solstice—As old as the Sun
        19. Watch Night—December 31st; International; 325 CE.
        20. Yule—December 21st; Norse/Germanic/Celtic, approx. 1300 BCE
        21. Zarathosht Diso—Date varies; Persian, 539 BCE
        Last edited by NeverAnEagle; 12-23-2013, 01:39 PM.

      • Old_OX_Eagle83
        Old_OX_Eagle83 commented
        Editing a comment
        They are all real, what a person believes is up to that person, and a part of "reverence" is respecting the beliefs of others ... especially when they differ from your own.

    • #5
      This Merry Christmas/Happy Holiday junk gets trotted out every year. Who cares? Last time I checked, Christmas is one of the holidays celebrated this time of the year. If someone wants to wish me a merry Christmas, fine. If they want to wish me a Swell Sewy Yelda (thanks for the list, NAE), that's okay too. If the want to lump all the holidays together, I don't mind that either.

      Some folks sure go out of their way to find thing to be offended over.


      • packsaddle
        packsaddle commented
        Editing a comment
        Twocub, I quite agree.

    • #6
      I deal with this every year, but from a different point of view, as a non-Christian. I think the reason it's hard to understand the reactions is that the reactions you get to your “Merry Christmas” are not only different, but for different reasons, and often with varied purpose.

      To get this out of the way, I appreciate anyone wishing me well, and am always glad they are embracing their faith. Where things change for me is where: a well-wishing is either an “feeler” for a potential faith conversion pitch; a placing of “the chip” on the shoulder, so that an attack can be made if the other person responds with a well wishing that is appropriate to their faith; and lastly when it is an act of political outrage. You can see by example some of the possible different reasons.

      We live in a compound culture, a true mixing pot, as is evidenced at any large scout gathering. We should respect our differences, find strength in them, and act to protect “everyone’s right to the freedom of religion”.

      I don’t mean to give offense by this, but all too often a zealous Christian will react in way that creates the stigma that causes the “PC” policies to be adopted. To better demonstrate my point, I’ll use my wife as an example. My wife works with the public, and just yesterday she had finished a transaction with a customer, who them wished her “Merry Christmas”, it had the intended effect, she genuinely felt good, and smiled, saying “and a Joyous Yule to you”. Her client’s reaction was: “Aren’t you allowed to say Merry Christmas?”. My wife didn’t choose to respond with “Merry Christmas” because she could not, she chose not to, as we do not celebrate Christmas, but did return a heartfelt well wishing, that was not well received. The story does not end there, as my wife, assuming she was dealing with a reasonable human being, went on to explain that her employer did allow all employees to say “Merry Christmas”, but “Joyous Yule” was appropriate to her own beliefs. I’ll not reproduce the whole dialogue here, although as you can guess, I was told about every detail when my wife came home thoroughly upset, and clearly no longer enjoying her winter holiday. Will I will share is that the client did inform my wife that “Jesus is the reason for the season”, and she was sick to death of people trying to remove Jesus from his own holiday; followed by probing questions regarding my wife’s own beliefs, and repeated efforts to get her to “x” religious leader, so that she can hear the truth, and be put on the correct path. The icing on the cake was when a supervisor asked my wife what had happened, and after hearing her explanation responded with “couldn’t you just say Merry Christmas”. Now my wife fears religious persecution in the work place.

      Does seeing this from another point of view help you understand? I deeply revere the teaching of Jesus Christ, and from my understanding of his ministry, can’t imagine this woman’s actions were in keeping with his teachings. The sad thing is, from my experience, about 1 in 3 Christians react in a similar way. The end effect, polies, and laws, are adopted to protect everyone, and their religious practices.

      I wish everyone could act like the mature, educated, adults we are, and everyone would accept all “well wishing”, with a big smile, and a warm heart … maybe one day we all can sit at the table of equality, and there will truly be peace on earth.


      • Twocubdad
        Twocubdad commented
        Editing a comment
        Clearly Christ came into the world so that we may beat up one another in His name.

        And proving once again the world is full of jackasses of all faiths.

      • Huzzar
        Huzzar commented
        Editing a comment
        ZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzz zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

      • Brewmeister
        Brewmeister commented
        Editing a comment
        You're in good company with Christ, Ox. He celebrated a lot of Holy-days, but Christmas wasn't one of them.

    • #7
      I don't have to be Jewish to wish someone a Happy Hanukkah if that's what it takes to make them feel good. That's the purpose of the expression. There have been those that have smiled when I said Merry Christmas and then told me they were not Christian. I followed up with what they tell me Jewish or something else. If I recognize the religion I adapt the greeting and if they say they aren't religious, I still wish them a Happy Holiday and hope that Santa can still come to their house. No one says that Santa isn't welcomed.

      So for all the friends on the forum: "Happy whatever it takes to put a smile on your face and a feeling of peace in your heart."

      I'll accept any response from you including "Go to hell." if that what it takes to put a smile on your face and a feeling of peace in your heart.



      • packsaddle
        packsaddle commented
        Editing a comment
        How about instead of wishing you ill will, I suggest, "Let's go on a hike?" That puts a smile on my face. At last, great hiking weather and with the leaves down, I can see the vistas all the better. Nice.

      • Old_OX_Eagle83
        Old_OX_Eagle83 commented
        Editing a comment
        I'm in Pack!

    • #8
      I've lived in foreign countries where celebrating Christmas is not the norm, and been offered good wishes based on the predominant religious holiday there. My first thought is not to take offense, but to appreciate the good nature of the greeting, wish them a greeting for their holiday in return - "And a Happy Ramadan to you, also!" . (Why not? I don't celebrate it but that doesn't mean I don't want them to enjoy it.) I don't inform them loftily that I don't celebrate their holiday, or feel the need to inform them what holiday I DO celebrate. I'm aware that the holiday they proclaim exists, and the well-wisher celebrates it.

      I usually wish someone a "Merry Christmas" unless I know they celebrate Hanukkah (which is long past this year, NeverAnEagle - it happened in November, on Thanksgiving, not in December), in which case I wish them a Happy Hanukkah (Why not? Scripture tells us Jesus celebrated it, too.) If someone wishes to take the time to inform me that they are not religious, don't celebrate Christmas, celebrate the Feast of Sol invictus or Kwanza'a or The High Celebration of the Great Speckled Bird, or something, I just smile and wish them a Happy (fill in the blank), or at the very least, a happy December 25.

      A holiday greeting should be about spreading good will, not acting like a jackass.


      • packsaddle
        packsaddle commented
        Editing a comment
        I like the idea of spreading lots of good food - pick any good holiday to celebrate, your choice. The good will comes easily on a full stomach.

    • #9
      i have a jewish friend. we have known each other for last 20 or so yrs. he is a life scout. never made it to eagle. his father was a SM. last yr during our pack bonfire, i asked him if it really bothers him when someone says "merry christmas" to him. i occasionally invite him to our pack/troop events. he has only 1 daughter, no sons. he thought about it for awhile and said it does bother him to a certain degree. not offended or anything, but it bother him nevertheless. so i called him up and said "merry christmas" to him this yr. after calling him for "happy hanuka". he called me some names and we had a good laugh.


      • #10
        As I have said in this forum on those few occasions when it was relevant, I am Jewish. When I think back to when I was a younger person, it probably DID bother me a little when someone wished me a Merry Christmas. It no longer does. If a person does not know I am Jewish, Merry Christmas is fine, Happy Holidays is fine, and I once got a Happy Winter Solstice card from a friend, that's fine too. All of them are good wishes, and who I am to reject a good wish? As for what I say back... unlike one poster above, I do not believe it is against my religion or beliefs to say Merry Christmas back. I am not "celebrating" Christmas (although I do that too, in a sense - stay tuned) when I say Merry Christmas to someone who has said it to me, nor I am I participating in any sort of religious ritual that is contrary to my beliefs. I am just wishing THAT PERSON a Merry Christmas for him/herself. They have indicated to me that THEY celebrate Christmas, and I am just wishing them a good one. (That all assumes that Merry Christmas is being used as a greeting; unfortunately the original post is evidence that more and more, Merry Christmas is being used as a challenge rather than a greeting, which I think is regrettable.)

        Now, as I suggested above, perhaps my acceptance of Merry Christmas, although it relates to a religion that is not mine, is due in part to the fact that (as I have also said before) I have been married to a Catholic woman for more than 30 years, and have "celebrated" Christmas with her and her family since shortly after we met. (And my children were "raised Catholic," although one is now in a different Christian denomination and the other two appear to be not much of anything, religion-wise.) For me it is not a religious holiday, it is more of a "family holiday." When Christian prayers are said at the dinner table, I remain respectfully silent, as I do when I find myself in a Christian church for Scout Sunday, or a wedding, or for any other reason. I find Christmas (at its core, leaving aside the shopping frenzy) to be a nice holiday, full of wishes of peace and joy. As I said before though, it is regrettable that in the past few years, some people (like the Oak Ridge Boy quoted above, apparently) have tried to turn Christmas into a political issue.


        • packsaddle
          packsaddle commented
          Editing a comment
          I probably need to clarify my previous comment, I'll gladly celebrate any holiday that has good food attached. I agree regarding 'politics'. Why would anyone want to spoil a good meal?

      • #11
        To me, I'd be much more grateful if someone said L'Shana Tova to me during the High Holidays than Happy Hanukkah now (especially considering Hanukkah is long over). Saying Happy Hanukkah now is just saying the Jewish version of Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays is just the same. What holiday? Bottom line is I'm just as content hearing Merry Christmas as anything else and just taking it for what it is: good will. Life is too short to get in a knot over this.

        In a way, I do feel sorry for Christians in that Christmas seems to be much more cultural and commercial than religious. One of the nice things about being a minority is that your holidays aren't hijacked by commercialism.

        So, for those of you for which Christmas is an important day to reflect about what Christ means to you, Merry Christmas.


        • #12
          Greetings of the season, all! In the spirit of Pack's notion, what are y'all having for your feasts? We had roast venison last night and a ham tonight. Mmmmm! Tamales for new years eve.


          • #13
            Feast? Left overs from a couple nights ago with eggnog.


            • #14
              A variety of meats, but best of all: the universal garnish of my wife's aunt's homemade horseradish, of which a jar got sent home.

              May God rest ye mightily, gentlemen (and ladies). I do believe in most cases, that's a good thing. But if you believe there's something better you should wishing me when we meet, I do hope you'll find it in your heart to offer it. The Good Book tells me that the Almighty's translation service doesn't process words as well as it does the pits of souls.
              Last edited by qwazse; 12-26-2013, 07:39 AM.


              • #15
                Christmas Eve traditional Italian feast with at least 15 types of seafood plus pasta, some ethnic things that taste good but I can't spell, not to mention about a dozen different kinds of Christmas pies, cookies, and cakes. "I can't believe I ate the whole thing"
                Since then, leftovers. I polished off the strawberry cheesecake for lunch today and followed that with sweet potato bread and some bacon left over from breakfast. Mmmmmmm good!