Sunday, 11 January 2009

Where Are The Nativity Images?

"Of the channels through which we can choose to send our messages, the visual is the strongest. This is partly because the parts of the brain which handle visual impressions are larger than those dealing with, for example, hearing; but it is also because we can attend to several visual messages simultaneously..... When word and image are used in combination, the resulting image is even richer and more powerful."

("See What I Mean", John Morgan and Peter Welton.)

Can you remember the Christmas Images of years gone by? They were of a loving family. He wasn't the "Real" Dad, so they say, but he had appointed himself the Protector of his Wife and Child. The Christmas Images of yesteryear were about responsibility, love, and making do with what we had. The words that went with those images strengthened the idea that we are loved, there is someone looking out for us, and that we are expected to behave IN THIS WAY: Responsible, Loving, and Content with simple comforts. You never hear about Mary demanding a new carpet. The words Child, Mother, Father, Holy, Love, were burned into our young minds as good words. They went with chocolate and bulging stockings. They went with the gorgeous music of the season, awesome and beautiful.

So what do we have now? Apparently, we are not allowed to wish anyone (or their children) "A Holy And Blessed Christmas", and the iconic images of the Holy Family, and the very IDEA that Family Responsibility can be considered Holy, has been removed. We have been told that some people may find it offensive. And what has it been replaced with?

"Happy Holidays". And pictures of masses of food, way too many things, a reindeer with a shiny nose, and the idea that in order to GET this Happiness that you are very clearly entitled to, you have to have a whole lot of stuff. The kids, in particular, MUST have the stuff or they will be devastated. We have Jolly, Happy, Toys, Turkey, Fashion, Santa Claus, Weight Gain, Hangover, Broken, Plastic, More! Better! Sooner! Cheaper! Now! Stress! Pepto Bismol!

I find those images MUCH MORE OFFENSIVE. As a not-really-Christian, I would much rather someone assumed I worshipped a guy named Jesus who had a great family and taught about love, than that I felt entitled to a Happy Holidays. And you can keep your Jolly crap away from my kids, too. But go right ahead and tell them all about Jesus. I can deal with that.

Whether we are devoutly Christian or not, it should make us sad to lose our annual Christmas Lesson. How on earth could anyone be offended by an image of a family? How has this image been turned into something offensive? The non-Christians I know are perfectly okay with it, as I am perfectly okay with their wishes for Divali Blessings for me, or Eid Blessings, or Hannukah Blessings, or whatever. Someone wants to tell me that they wish their special Blessings upon me? I am touched.

Throw away the Jolly Holly Greetings. Claim back Christmas. We need it.

8 comments:

BlueBella said...

Nice work, Nan. This year I was a bit surprised that my team at work INSISTED on holding a Christmas party and wouldn't for an instant call it a holiday party. They wanted a Christmas party, so that's what we had. I was in awe, and so thankful.
I think you are right, we've watered down the meaning of so many things just to appeal to the masses in effort to not offend anyone - the true meaning gets lost. And I agree - if someone wants to bestow their form of blessing upon me, I am greatful.

Islandgirl said...

this term when our school launched christmas and each class had to decorate I was saddened that Santa was the focal point of all te decorating. When did this happen. When did the jolly red guy and snowmen and snow become the norm in the tropics? Seeing this I promptly went and put up a paper creshe on my Art Room noticeboard. As I was creating it the kids clustered around me and asked a million questions about the holy family and the beginnings of the christmas tradition. I am not an overly religious person either..I celebrate it all and I agree with Nan that this world needs more blessings in whatever form they take. The one good thing I am hoping this world wide recession brings is a return to the simple life. Making do with what you have, family and community values of helping each other through, reading books, making your own toys and just appreciating the gift of life in general.

Theresa said...

But have you seen the after ''season'' sales??? OMG!! Im shopping more now than before Christmas! We didn't really shop much before anyway. And shame on me, I didn't put up a creche :(

Candygirlflies said...

Amen.

And Amen, again.

xoxoxo CGF

Tash said...

too right Nan!

LceeL said...

Right on, woman. I agree absolutely. The real meaning of Christmas has been prostituted in favor of the almighty buck.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

amen. I work my "Christmas" into every inch of my celebrating and it irks me when people sell out and water it down. No one asks others to believe, no one makes you celebrate it. I send my Jewish friends Christmas cards and wish them Happy Hannukah and we're all JUST FINE. You writ this well.

Nan said...

Thank you, thank you. The votes are in, let's try to get it back next year.