And To All A Good Fight! Er, Light! Um, Night!
What a crock of reindeer poop. There is right on both sides. Non-Christians shouldn't have Christianity crammed in their faces like a snowball, and Christians deserve to be able to demonstrate their faith in as many colored lights and tacky creches as they please.
Thing is, it gets out of whack. Witness Irish-Catholic State Senator Marty Golden (R-Brooklyn), on the subject of Çhristmas trees being banned from locations across the nation: "It [the Christmas tree] was introduced centuries ago by the Christians, and it should remain a Christmas symbol."
Wrong, wrong, wrong, you holly-brained ignoramus! Christmas greenery was introduced MILLENNIA ago by the PAGANS. The Christmas tree as we know it only came into play in the nineteenth century, and came to us from German Protestants (thanks, Prince Albert!). Get the facts before you climb up on the hobbyhorse, 'kay?
Christians stole, yes, STOLE, great whacking heaps of stuff from us Pagans, so let's give credit where credit is due.
It has to be all or nothing, though. Either everyone gets to display stuff or nobody does. As a Pagan, I'm not offended in the least by Christian displays. I find them pleasingly decorative and mythologically acceptable. Just because it's someone else's myth doesn't necessarily make it bad. There are stories all over the place of virgins giving birth to saviors at midwinter, in a cave, while angels sang and shepherds watched their flocks by night. Hi, Mithras! (Check it out...)
And I just loooove singing carols. They make me get all teary and joyful. Not the sappy soulless modern ones, but the great exaltations of years gone by: "We Three Kings," "Good King Wenceslas," "Angels We Have Heard On High", "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing", "The First Noel", "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen." I just edit out the dogma and let it rip.
I like Chanukkah songs too: "Maoz Tzur" and "Hayo Haya" are terrific, and great fun to sing. If Muslims and Buddhists had some good rousing seasonal tunes I'd sing those. Pagans, surprisingly, don't have such cool solstice carols: they're all kind of embarrassing, actually, which is why I like to sing the traditional stuff. With the Lord and Lady in mind, of course.
In the end, it's all about the same thing. Come back, Sun! Bring the Light! And if there's a Sacred Lord of Winter involved, no matter what faith he's from, that's okay by me. I would just like to be sure that MY Lord of Winter gets fair play.