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Auckland, North Island, New Zealand
Wine tour operator, wine writer and lapsed physiotherapist. "Nature abhors a vacuum. I personally hate dusting."


Saturday, December 17, 2011

So what's wrong with Christmas?

Disclaimer: I am agnostic.  I was raised as a Catholic.  But at 55 and with two parents long gone from cancer, and two marriages, no kids and a bit of life experience, I ... still ...just ... don't know.
However, Christmas ... 

Where I live - New Zealand, has a predominantly Christian religious culture.  Polynesian  people came here about 800 years ago and developed their own
Maori belief system.  Then around 1800 NZ was seriously colonised by Europeans who brought Christianity - as well as rats, measles, muskets, alcohol, syphilis, influenza and other stuff.  But anyway, eventually many Maori converted to Christianity. So - like it or not, over about 150 years, and right now NZ has a majority 'religious culture' of Christianity. (Even though fewer than 10% of us attend church regularly). 
We also have much smaller numbers of Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, Taoist, Hindu, Sikh, Jedi, Pagan, Wiccan and many others. 

Christian culture celebrates Christmas as a reminder of: good will, peace, generosity, kindness, reconciliation, hospitality, family and friendship.

Christian religion celebrates all of the above plus the birth of a Jewish male who they believe is the Christ (the chosen one) and therefore son of God. Believe it - or not.

As a physiotherapist a few years back, I felt no insult or rage if Muslim patients shared Ramadan food treats with me.  Or when a totally crazy Ukrainian Jewish guy used to bring me traditional heart-stopping cold weather fatty meat products to sample.

- I see no shame in celebrating Christmas - or wishing someone a Merry Christmas. Or sending Christmas cards, or exchanging Christmas gifts. Christmas is part of my culture - not necessarily my belief system.

So If I say, Have good Christmas, or Merry Christmas - I'm not saying "Screw your religion and your culture,"  or "My imaginary friend is better than yours," or "In your face, immigrant."

I am saying, "Enjoy our traditional New Zealand festive celebrations and holiday season, and best wishes to you."

So - Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year (Gregorian Calendar - my bad) to All