Random Rantings

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Reflections on Christmas Past

I remember a year - I think I was in 6th grade... I was home alone with a friend of mine... and it was around Christmas...

Being a Jewish household, this meant that we did not have any Christmas decorations on our house...

We had this pair of missionaries stop at my door... my friend and I answered... and being young and too polite to say "no thank you" and close the door in their faces, we stood at the door and listened to them talk about God and the season of Christmas... One woman kept saying how it was so nice to find such polite young women at home, and that it was never too early to start thinking about God and our futures...

They had some brochures they left us with... one said he was going to give us "the good stuff", and pulled out a few of those cartoon tracts for us...

We said our goodbye and shut the door.... my friend and I looked at each other, and immediately got the giggles... we were just so struck by their earnestness and the emotion with which they spoke... we thought it was so over the top it was funny...

I should stop here and also say that my friend was Christian herself...

Now - we were not being disrespectful to the religion - just the people at our door... we talked about how we would have found it more interesting if they actually wanted to talk with us about some serious religious topic, rather than talk _at_ us about how important it was to have a personal relationship with Jesus...

We threw out the brochures, and then took a look at the cartoons, it being the first time that either of us had ever seen them...
I found them insulting and intolerant, and she kept saying how she thought her church wouldn't agree with them, and that she was going to ask her minister about it...
She took them and put them in her coat pocket to bring to church that Sunday...

We went back to playing and completely forgot about the visit until my mother came home and asked about the brochures in the trash... I decided to tell her that the missionaries had left them on our porch for us, rather than tell her I had actually opened the door and talked to them (we had had instructions not to open the door for strangers, but we both thought it had been my friend's mom and opened the door without looking first).

Later on, my friend's mom came over - they lived down the street - and my mom asked if she had seen the missionaries... my friend's mom said no, that she hadn't had them stop by... to which my mom concluded that they were probably targeting homes where there were no Christmas decorations...

From then on, I remember always feeling vulnerable around Christmas... that by not having Christmas decorations it made us a "target". That we were somehow in danger from some evil in the world because it was suddenly obvious to others we were Jewish.

I got over the fear and paranoia pretty quickly when I realized that our having a mezuzah on our door made it obvious all year round that we were Jewish... so we were not in any more or less "danger" during Christmas... but I never got rid of the overall worry that during the Christmas season not having decorations still somehow made you more vulnerable than at other times....

Each year the something "bad" did not occur made the worry less and less... It still was in the back of my mind, but I haven't really thought about it again until this year...

With all the "war on Christmas" nonsense, I keep fearing that someone is going to take personal offense with the fact that my family doesn't celebrate Christmas... especially since I know that many of our neighbors don't understand Judaism...

And yet - not unlike the Maccabees of old - somewhere in the back of my head, my inner voice says "bring it on!" Just let someone target my family, take offense with my traditions, try to stifle our celebration... they will feel the wrath of The Emily.... beware the Whomping of Wynn...

So - by realizing that I would rather fight than be threatened, I am no longer afraid of what the neighbors think, or what they might say or do...

But what about those people who live in places where they know they cannot fight and win?

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home