11/30/2013

We're the Post Office and We Don't Want to Offend

This morning, since we were out and about anyway, I left the boys in the car with Tim and darted into the post office to get my annual batch of Christmas stamps. (The parking lot was nearly empty and it was just 10, so I figured the chances of their being a huge line were slim.) The line was, in fact, relatively non-horrible. So I got in and contented myself with looking at the various posters for stamps.

First I noticed that they're doing a limited re-release of the upside down Jenny. (I think that's what it was called.) And ok, cool. But it's a $0.23 stamp. What does that mail, exactly? A postcard maybe? Seems to me postcards are even more than that but it's been a long time since I sent a postcard so I've no idea. But still. Upside down airplane. Cool.

Then my eyes wandered to the various "Holiday Stamp" posters. Reasonable, since that's what I was actually there to buy. They have a pretty poinsettia stamp. A gingerbread house stamp. A Hanukkah stamp. An EID stamp. And a Kwanza stamp.

I did a quick double take.

But no, the stamps in question didn't change. And a tiny trickle of anger started to simmer just under my ribcage. But perhaps it was just that poster that was missing the Christmas stamp. I scanned around. All the posters were the same, but the little stand on the counter with magnets of the available stamps was at an angle I couldn't quite see. Perhaps it was there.

We shuffled forward a few steps closer, after the only nice post man in this particular office reminded people that if you want to use a credit card it has to be signed and, in his words, they weren't there to debate the policy, just enforce it. Debit cards don't need to be signed. That made me smile slightly as I've gone a few rounds with post office employees in the past regarding this ridiculous policy - but at least now they won't let you sign it right there and then use it. He made that clear. (But I wouldn't go a few rounds with him. As I said, he's the only nice person in the office. The others who work there, all ladies for whatever that might indicate, are perpetually sullen, bordering on snarky and obnoxious, as if you're a rather great imposition on their day.)

Finally, the stand was within my sight and I ran through the holiday options again. And again, no Christmas stamp. (Commercial/cultural winter holiday surrounding presents stamps? Check. Two of those. But the Christ Mass? Nada.) I almost walked out at that point because I was so irritated. But I decided to wait the two more people in line and ask.

See, the problem for me is this -- it's apparently perfectly fine to have stamps honoring any religion other than Christianity. I have no problem with them having an EID or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa stamp. Those are things people believe in and if we're going to have winter holiday stamps, then fine, have those stamps too. (It's along the lines why I don't get exorcised about Happy Holidays vs.Merry Christmas. There are multiple holidays in December. I assume if you say Happy Holidays you're being inclusive. I will respond with Merry Christmas because that's the one I happen to celebrate. No harm, no foul all around.)

But the problem I DO have, and that I do get exorcised about is the assumption that anyone who celebrates Christmas simply is feting a fat man in a red suit with reindeer. The cultural Christmas is NOT the same as the religious Christmas. For Christians, Christmas isn't about Santa or gingerbread houses or poinsettias - it's about the birth of our Savior. God incarnate. The Word who was in the beginning being made flesh and dwelling among us.

Now, I don't care if all you think of Christmas is Santa and presents. That's your choice and it's one you're not alone in making. BUT if the post office is going to celebrate other religious holidays with a stamp, then they need to include the religious understanding of Christmas in their stamp choices.

As it turns out, there is a Mother and Child stamp this year, despite having been left out of all the advertisements. So if Jesus's birth is why you celebrate Christmas - please go to the post office and buy some, just to let them know that there are those of out here who care and who aren't going to sit idly by and let the birth of Christ be overlooked in favor of a cookie house without at least mentioning it.

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