"Happy Frickin' Winter."
This gave me one of the biggest laughs I'd had in a while, which is good because I've had a nasty cold and lowered white blood cell/neutrophil counts, and humor is good for the immune system.
This came from Glenn Beck's website. Glenn Beck is one of my favorite radio talk show hosts, and he also has a primetime spot on CNN Headline News. He is not only a fellow Mormon, but also a fellow adoptive parent. And he is hilarious. One year we bought his "Happy Rama-hanu-kwanz-mas" t-shirt, and now he has a greeting card depicting a father and son who go out shopping for Christmas trees, and the tree lot has a banner that says, "Christmas Trees", with "Christmas" crossed out with "Holiday" replacing it, then "Holiday" crossed out and "Winter" replacing it. Inside the card has the hilarious punchline with a good point: "Happy Frickin' Winter." It was a great way to capture the absurdity of the devolution of "the most wonderful time of the year".
Growing up and attending elementary schools in Illinois, I remember learning Christmas songs (yes, even the Jesus ones) and Hanukkah songs, and making manger scenes as well as dreidles - IN PUBLIC SCHOOL. (Someone in the ACLU is hyperventilating right now.) My civil liberties remained intact. I remember thinking it was pretty neat to learn about what my Jewish friend celebrated, and I never once felt like my own Christian faith was threatened. Looking back, I think that if anything fostered acceptance and tolerance of diverse faiths, it would be the "free exercise" of those faiths. (A little constitutional lingo, there.)
As time passed, I noticed that later years took out the religious parts of the holiday season, and the schools focused on Santa, Rudolph, and the like. Now the holiday part is completely removed, and my son makes snowmen in school and looks forward to "winter break". The biggest tradition of the season is Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving when crowds wait all night outside store entrances for the big doorbuster deals. (Okay, as a shopping nut, I can't honestly criticize that activity, but I wish there were more religious fervor directed toward better things.)
As an unofficial member and fan of P.O.O.P. (People Offended by Offended People), I can only give a tongue-in-cheek observation that "Happy Winter" celebrations are not politically correct enough. After all, isn't it "seasonist" and offensive to people (like me) who were born in the summer?
By the way, I do have to mention that my son's elementary school did have a Scholastic book fair early in the semester, and I was incredibly (and pleasantly) surprised to see how many Christmas (yes - even Jesus Christmas, not just Santa) and other religious books were offered for sale IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOL BOOK FAIR! (Another ACLU person hyperventilates.) I personally bought as many as I could afford, as a show of support. The reason I share this viewpoint is that I was contemplating the upcoming Christmas season, and hoping that this year it would bring good news (my next MRI is on the 13th) instead of the devastating news of my cancer diagnosis last year. I worried so much that I ruined Christmas once for my family by creating a negative association, and I didn't want to do it again. Of course, my Prince Charming husband refuses to let me think that I have the ability to "ruin" anything, and my mom always insists that every day we are all breathing is a gift to celebrate with gratitude (and she's right). And added to that came my own realization that this more than just a winter holiday. It's more than snowmen. It's more than traditions and carefree celebrations and parties and credit card bloat. Christmas is coming soon. It's the celebration of the birth of the One who makes something as awful as cancer into just a temporary nuisance in the grand scheme of things. I still hope I don't have more bad news to share at this time (or any time, for that matter), but I guess it's less than tragic to have to face the hard things of life at a time when the birth of our Savior is able to provide the context and comfort we need to deal with mortality's messes.
Having endured many Texas summers, even this July-born girl can find much to enjoy about the arrival of the winter solstice. But I am grateful to have something much more significant to celebrate. I hope I have many more opportunities to say it, but...Merry Christmas!