Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry shopping holiday

Since I don’t want to be one of those “Jewish guys” who “trash up the malls every year” with expressions of Christmas cheer that I have no right to, since I’m “not in the club,” I’d do better just to wish the readers of A Commonplace Blog a merry shopping holiday. If you “don’t believe Jesus was God,” but don’t want to “[c]elebrate Yule instead or dance around in druid robes for the solstice,” you may notice that you receive no U.S. mail today, that traffic on the roads is light, and that there is no place to buy milk. But please don’t wish anyone a merry Christmas. You might be told to “buzz off.” Because, you know, I get angry when non-Jews wish me a happy new year at Rosh Hashanah. I yell at them not to “mess with” my holiday. As opposed, say, to treating Hanukkah—a minor post-biblical festival—as if it were the only Jewish holiday, the second-rate Jewish Christmas.

Oh, to hell with it. A merry Christmas to you! And joy to the world! I realize that I am committing “spiritual piracy,” but I console myself with the reflection that I am not alone:

Ceremonies for Christmas

Come, bring with a noise,
My merry, merry boys,
The Christmas log to the firing,
While my good dame, she
Bids ye all be free,
And drink to your heart’s desiring.

With the last year’s brand
Light the new block, and
For good success in his spending,
On your psalteries play,
That sweet luck may
Come while the log is a-teending.

Drink now the strong beer,
Cut the white loaf here,
The while the meat is a-shredding;
For the rare mince-pie,
And the plums stand by,
To fill the paste that’s a kneading.

                   —Robert Herrick

Even those who don’t believe that today is the birthday of the messiah can enter into the Christmas spirit—as the vicar of Dean Prior in Devonshire knew very well.


Koozies said...

no big comment on that…but I LOVE this blog, it is great and pls keep up the great work ;)

courtneyvz said...

It seems Keillor is just full of Christmas spirit. I'm wondering how rewriting Silent Night is cultural elitism but barring non-Christians from wishing you a Merry Christmas isn't. Maybe I should back up a step and ask if anyone can provide me with a definition of cultural elitism that is in any way useful.

I don't believe Christmas represents the birth of the Messiah, either, but I gather around a tree and enjoy time with my family all the same. So
Merry Christmas right back at you, Dr. Myers. And Happy belated Minor Post-biblical Festival as well.

Steven Riddle said...

Dear Sir,

My thanks to you--and if this is usurpation--I most heartily welcome it. I hope the day was joyful for you. More importantly, I asked as my Christmas gift that you should continue to share your thoughts with us over the next year. (You, of course among others--I wouldn't want to cause swelled-head syndrome).



Indian Sarees said...

Thanks to you. I LOVE this blog, Great work.