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Letters to the editor

December 06, 2003

Exmas rush becomes a racket


To the editor:

It seems as was the case almost 2,000 years ago, it is again today, that for him whose birthday we celebrate, there is still, "no room in the inn."

How many remember, or know, or even care that this is the birthday of Jesus Christ, who came to give us the gift of life. I hear the radios in the stores playing so called, "Christmas songs." I hear songs of Santa Claus, of reindeer with red noses, of fireplaces and coming home, of trees and snow and sleigh bells.

What I don't hear are any songs about "Happy birthday Jesus - we love you!" I see great spectacles of decorated trees, of gaudy light displays, of red-robed fat men, and strange flying deer pulling a sleigh through the air. I see mammoth altars to the gods of greed and consumption in the department stores.

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I see the grudging expenditure of massive amounts of money and material sending little pieces of paper saying, "Have a happy season." What I don't see is anything that says, "Happy birthday Jesus - we love you!"

C.S. Lewis wrote a short essay about a strange land that observed a very peculiar yearly celebration called "Exmas" and the sending of little pieces of paper called Exmas Cards, at a tremendous cost in postage, paper and patience. This ritual is preceded by the Exmas Rush, the object of which seemed to be the selling and buying of very much useless and ridiculous foolishness such as no sane person would ever buy for himself or another at any other time of year.

This, despite their claims of great poverty and hunger among many of the citizens, and a supposed concern for the depletion of their natural resources! This "Exmas," it is told, is supposed to be a time of great joy and love, yet the people are so pale and weary and frustrated because of the crowds, the "Rush," and the great expense, that a visitor would be more likely to think that a great calamity had befallen these people.

An even stranger fact seemed to be that there was another great celebration during this same period, called "Christmas." This Christmas seemed to represent the very opposite of Exmas, proclaiming a simple time of peace, joy, and a forgetting about "The Rush." It revolved around a new-born baby and a spiritual story about which I will not now speak. A visitor, upon inquiring about the meaning of these things of one of their holy men, was told that yes, "Christmas" and "Exmas" were, in fact, a celebration of the same event, but by the gods, he wished that Exmas would be celebrated at some other time, or better yet, not at all. Christmas was to be a time of great happiness and merriment, but in the weariness of Exmas, there was no happiness or merriment left. He continued to say that Exmas was, in fact, something called, "a racket." The visitor did not understand this, since to him a racket was something used to play tennis.

Albert E. Jenke
Hagerstown




Greetings on special day


To the editor:

Eid Mubarak; Happy Eid.

On this joyous occasion of Eid (Nov. 25), on behalf of the Muslims of the Tri-State area, I extend greetings to all our neighbors, friends and readers of this newspaper.

Eid is a day of celebration for Muslims, a day to thank our Creator, Allah, who gave us strength and patience to complete fasting and fulfill our obligations during the blessed month of Ramadan.

Utmost self-control and complete submission to Allah is the lesson we learned this month.

We abstained from foods and drinks from sunrise to sunset and thus shared the feelings of the less fortunate ones.

We learn to share Allah's blessings with others, avoid all disagreements and stay spiritually pure - by avoiding all sinful acts and evil thoughts during Ramadan. I hope and pray that we all can maintain the same level of submission to our Creator and piety the rest of the year.

I would like to thank all of our loving and caring friends, members of interfaith family and area churches who visited us during this holy month.

The understanding, tolerance and mutual respect of our friends and neighbors will bring unity, peace, mercy and Allah's blessings to this community.

Syed Qasim Burmi
Imam, Islamic Society of Western Maryland




Bad kitty


To the editor:

Notwithstanding the good intentions of many parents who, blithely ignoring the "PG" rating, took their little ones to see "The Cat in the Hat," there was lascivious wordplay in the move that was not penned by Dr. Seuss, and which is not appropriate for children.

Larry D. Kump
Falling Waters, W.Va.

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