I'm a Christian. Some of my friends are "spiritual", Buddhist, or borderline atheist. So this time of year, I get to hear about all the ways they're pissed off at having Christianity shoved down their throats. And as a Christian I instinctually feel a twang of pain in my gut when they complain about something I feel deeply personal about, so I attempt to defend Christianity by saying: "Hey, I'm a Christian and I haven't even mentioned my faith more than twice to you -and only by stating the fact that hey, I'm a Christian." And they say, "Well you're fine, you don't shove your religion on other people, but there are a lot of Christians that do." Then they blame Christianity for Santa -who they hate about as much as I do now.
Let me explain Santa to you as I do to them. There are 2 Santas. There first Santa is based on a Catholic saint who felt inspired one night to go out into the cold and bring gifts of toys to orphans. The second drinks Coca Cola and hangs out at T Mobile. I prefer the first Santa, but even his ideals have faded into dust. We don't give gifts to orphans like he did. Some do for charity, but most just follow the protocol of Santa 2 and buy up a bunch of stuff out of social obligation to friends and relatives who then feel guilted into doing the same.
Then there's Christianity itself -which people also complain is too overt around this time of year. It's frustrating because according to Christianity we are supposed to be celebrating Jesus birth -a miracle unto itself considering a king was told of His coming and decided to murder every child in the city Jesus was later raised in. So a pregnant woman had to flee in the night to a neighboring land and give birth in a barn. We are celebrating the birth of our Savior.
But when people of other faiths see and endless sea of Nativity scenes, they want to throw up. And I get complained to about it. I told one friend that Jews should be more open about their faith -and she said it would exacerbate the problem. She wants LESS, not MORE. And I say, "Well there are two kinds of people. Some say religion should be shouted from the roof tops and announced to everyone to share the good news. And others say that it should be kept secret in a closet and privately worshiped and devoted on. It's just that the first kind of loud-mouthed person tends to be heard that much more." And she said, "Well they should be more quiet and keep their religion to themselves."
You know what else frustrates me? There are essentially 2 main holidays in Christianity that people celebrate. For Catholics it's a couple more days worth noting, but for your average, run-of-the-mill Christian it's 2 days out of the year when you should be acknowledging and celebrating God: Easter and Christmas. And even Easter has been taken over by a stupid Rabbit and some Chicks that have their own corporate allegiances -mostly to Hershey's.
These religious holidays are never really about what they're supposed to be. The benefit of being Jewish is your religious holidays are always clear and never mistaken for anything else. There is no corporate mascot for Hanukkah. No Wiley Coyote to help celebrate Passover (which I think is a holiday Christians should celebrate more as well). You just get the sacred day itself with it's original intended purpose. No one gets alienated or says, "Hey can you be a little more quiet about your religious celebration? It's starting to bug me."
And the fact is there is NO time of year when it's really deemed "ok" to acknowledge and celebrate your religion as a country/people as a whole. Except for those 2 designated days, it's just you and whatever local congregation you go to and/or whatever friends of the same faith you happen to know.
Personally I want to know more about religion in general. Whatever faith it may be, I feel my eyes are opened wider to the loves of others when they share their beliefs and include others and me in their celebrations of faith. I want to know more about Hinduism, Judaism, and other religions that play second-fiddle in our country. But they have more of a "keep it to yourself" policy. Maybe that's why more people know about Christianity even when they're atheist. At least they have the luxury of saying they know. For the rest of us, other religions are vague and rumored beliefs our friends who follow them don't usually speak about. We are strangers to the worlds of others around us.
It is the instinct of children to want to share and understand. I want to share what matters to me in hopes that it may add value to the life of another. I want to understand what matters to those around me so my life can be added with greater meaning as well.