This is the Christmas tree that I just put up. Yes, I said "Christmas tree". It will never be a "holiday tree" to me.
The battles we see breaking out around our country regarding Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays and Christmas tree vs. holiday tree are representative of the battle going on within me.
I'm conflicted over Christmas. One half of me wants to use it to help remember and celebrate the birth of Christ, because that's what has been touted my whole life (and what better time to remember his birth, since Easter is all about his death and resurrection). The other half of me realizes that Christmas is not a "real" religious holiday. It is not really when Christ was born (it is believed he was born in October), there is no commandment to celebrate his birth, and Christmas really began as a farce created by the Roman Catholic church to counter the pagan celebration of the winter solstice. It actually originally was a raucous celebration in the streets with drunken costumed celebrations and gambling (like most of our championship playoffs here in the states!) It is a weird mixture of Christian and pagan rituals and beliefs, and it has evolved many times over the centuries into different things in different countries.
The spiritual heart of me wants to make it into something about Christ, but the logical side of me knows that isn't true. So instead I settle somewhere in the middle: it's a time to remember the birth of Christ and celebrate his life, but it is mostly just a time of goodwill and family and love and pretty sparkly lights.
And despite any internal conflict, I am still a great lover of Christmas. Merry Christmas everyone! Or Happy Holidays, or Happy Hanukkah, or whatever makes you happy. Or more simply... "God Bless Us...everyone!"