Letter to the editor: Christian celebrations of Christmas not universal

Miles Brainard

All around me, friends and acquaintances are getting excited. The day after Thanksgiving, the holiday lights went up and the Christmas music got cranked on. They are in the heat of the season, overflowing with cheer and a warm-heartedness.

The trouble comes, though, when people ask me what my Christmas plans are. You see, I don’t have any. I am not a Christian. I guess you could say I have family plans, some of them do the Christmas thing and I tag along, but it has nothing to do with the birth of Jesus.

When I mention that I do not share their Christian faith, oh, the surprise and the worry! How can that be? Why aren’t you? What do you have against baby Jesus?

First off, it should not surprise people that on a campus of many thousands of students, there are people of different faiths or no faith at all. Second, why do I need to explain myself to someone who would be deeply offended if I asked them the same questions?

Christian privilege is not often discussed. Throughout the rest of year, the institutionalization of a Christian norm comes up here and there, but not as much as it does around the holidays. I am made to defend my non-belief and am accused of being curmudgeonly and abnormal. Some people think I am un-American.

I have nothing against people enjoying holidays of their choice, but for them to assume these celebrations and the beliefs surrounding them are universal is wrong. Not everyone celebrates Christmas, not everyone is a Christian and that’s not bizarre or unnatural.

Everyone should enjoy their Winter Break, I certainly will. But do not make a point of accusing those who believe differently than you of being bitter, strident and misguided. They’re not.