December 1st, 2014
Like many of you, I was raised with a considerable amount of "Church-ianity" (my term for church-centered activities). Now, my children are grown and church plays a less dominant role in my life but many of the traditions from my childhood continue to be honored. Some traditions however, have fallen victim to "political correctness" since many sensitivities have arisen about how things should be expressed. A well intentioned "Merry Christmas" can unintentionally lead to a spirited discussion about "separation of church and state", or whether Christmas should actually be celebrated in March, or how I shouldn't assume everyone celebrates Christmas" just because I do (bah humbug). Frankly, it can be a little exhausting but I do want to respect people's feelings...so what's a person to do?
For me, the message of PEACE, LOVE, and JOY has always provided comfort and inspiration during this time of year and I have always enjoyed the songs on the radio, TV shows like It's a Wonderful Life" and "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer" (the claymation version), and seeing my community transformed by all the beautiful lights and other decorations. I have also always appreciated seeing the transformation of people this time of year (nicer, more polite, courteous, and even forgiving). What I have not always appreciated is being approached by overly enthusiastic religious types and opportunists attempting to take advantage of people's generous spirit during the holidays. So, rather than attempting to push a political or religious agenda, I decided to side step many of the sensitivities and create an image that celebrates some things that have been consistently positive in my life during this time of year.
While this image contains no manger, baby Jesus, traveling kings, camels, winged messengers, or even Mary & Joseph surrounded by farm animals, it does contain the words "Merry Christmas" (rather than "Happy Holidays" or "Merry X-Mas") and it contains a heart symbolizing LOVE, a star on top of a Christmas tree signifying a guiding light from above, the word JOY with a PEACE sign in the "O", and Rudolph the red nosed reindeer leaping toward the word "Joy" for whimsy (hence the title "Jump For Joy"). So, all-in-all I think it is a pretty good compromise.
If the idea of a central message of PEACE, LOVE, and JOY without any polarizing political and/or religious rhetoric resonates with you, why not make this image your Christmas cards this year too? Your support and encouragement are extremely appreciated.
Thank you and Merry Christmas to you and yours. Happy New Year too! :-)