Peace on Earth, Unless. . .

Christmas sends conflicting messages–peace v. purchases, light of wonder v. competitive house lighting. I write a lot about fear, and much of what I see about Christmas is fear based–will I give the right gift? Will I get what I want? Will my family show their love and appreciation or will there be another fight?

On my walk this morning, I saw houses decked out in full lights. I like the lights, but you can tell when someone is an overachiever. I walked in a different direction today, and then I saw this, not a Christmas decoration, just a warning that this family has had up for years:


In case you can’t see it, the stuffed man is hanging from a gallows (notice the “steps” and crossbeam). Wrapped in merry twinkling Christmas lights. Don’t strain to read the sign, I took a better photo of it. Here it is:


This is how these homeowners want to be known. The fading of the sign and the clothing on the dummy shows sun damage, so it’ s been up for awhile. For years I worked on a newspaper as a journalist. I believe in the First Amendment. And I still believe this qualifies as hate speech.

I was horrified, then sad. I haven’t moved from sad much since. I might add that they also had Christmas decorations up. Unless Baby Jesus was weeping in his manger, I just don’t understand how you can welcome Christmas and have this on your lawn, too.

There is much I don’t understand. This is one of those things.

–Quinn McDonald knows the season can be hard on people. She doesn’t think anger or fear do much to help.

23 thoughts on “Peace on Earth, Unless. . .

  1. Oh! my goodness! It took me a minute to realize there was a man hanging from a rope.
    My first response after reading the sign was maybe it was bad humor, Then I realized there was a “man” hanging from a rope.
    Then remembering when my home has been broken into…I was upset, violated, sad that my wedding rings from 1970 could not be replaced and I would never see them again…and I felt the way that sign indicates for a while…afraid.
    Then I read your post about it being “Merry Christmas not Happy Holidays”.
    I’ve decided this is a year round Grinch. This is about being hurt, pain, hate and fear. Poor dear(s). Their heart has become cold with it.

    • It was a man hanging from a rope. A man with distinctive Hispanic features. (You have to live here to “get” that). It’s more than a year-round grinch, it is indeed a cold heart. That’s what makes me sad. That horrible belief that you can control other people’s lives with fear and threats of violence. I’d bring them some brownies, except I’d be shot, as I would be considered a trespasser.

  2. If you look closely at a game of checkers, there can’t be a winner without a loser. Take a few steps back and there are two players that depend on each for a fun game.

    Merry Christmas *and* Happy Holidays! In particular, have a Fantastic Festivus!

  3. Having lived on a tree farm in rural Wisconsin, I understand not welcoming trespassers, but as hateful as the sign is, it’s not technically “hate speech” because no special group is being attacked. The message is “We’re misanthropes, and violently proud of it, and if yer not one of us yer agin us.” Christmas celebrates the birth of love–the light of redemption that triumphs over sin and darkness. I feel sorry for anyone who chooses to live in darkness. Love and high hopes for a happy new year to you, dear Q. xox

  4. humans are such strange creatures. There’s an ‘enjoy yourself but by my rules only’ mentality that becomes so apparent this time of year. Baffling but fascinating. Wishing you seasonal tidings! x

  5. Don’t understand this either but I know that all exist from two things: Love and Fear and I don’t want to be a part of the fear! Wish you all a loving and sharing Christmas time and for the New Year hopefully more Love and less Fear! warm greet Miranda

  6. Any holiday that people wish to celebrate should be about spending time with loved ones. Not gifts, not outdoing each other, not expectations and certainly not about instilling fear in others (like the crazy people with the threatening hangman’s noose).

    I’m so glad we decided not to buy gifts and instead spend quality time together. We use the money we saved on gifts to go out for dinner several nights. No stress finding less-than-perfect gifts or buying something just to give an obligatory gift.

  7. There is a lot that people don’t understand this year, and there are many people frightened by our brave new world, and not just by whether they have bought the right presents or not. Is it a sign we are getting older, when we start questioning the way our society works? I have no idea how you can combine the Christmas spirit with that horrible sign!
    I wish you, yours, and everyone who follows this blog a peaceful holiday season safe with loved ones, and far away from those who think hatred needs to be a way of life.

    • I’ve always questioned how society works, so I suppose I was born old. I’ve been in protest marches over society’s workings long enough that for a while there, I thought I made a difference. I combined the Christmas spirit because the house had a manger scene and a big sign that said “It’s Merry Christmas not Happy Holidays” as well as the hangman. I didn’t want to post the manger photo and the message, because that would direct the conversation into another direction.

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