War on Christmas

As the snows of winter come we can be certain of a few things, driving to and from work in the dark, sudden cold wet days when we expected clear and cool and of course the Fox News hype about the War on Christmas. For the last several years we hear about how secular progressives are battling Christmas in an attempt to destroy it. I have come to expect this at this time of year as much as Rudolph and A Charlie Brown Christmas.


Of course the only war I see Christmas in is one where Christmas fired the first shot. The war is with other seasonal holidays. It used to be that the Christmas season started after Thanksgiving but in the weeks leading up to a holiday where we are suppose to be thankful for all we have, we are bombarded with visions of things we must go out and buy. I mean I understand it makes sense that a holiday weekend a month before a major gift giving holiday could be the kick off of the shopping season, but lately the so called Black Friday has pretty much taken over the entire month of Thanksgiving and with shopping starting as early as 10pm on Thanksgiving night the family meal for the holiday has become an elaborate carb load for the hours of shopping to come. One seriously has to ask if the savings can truly replace the time spent with family and friends enjoying a little bit of down time to take stock of all we have and all mean to each other.

But this year Christmas went on a larger offensive, having conquered Thanksgiving in the past, Christmas has decided to take on Halloween. This year in October stores seemed to have more red and green than black and orange. At one point it seemed easier to find a candy cane than a pumpkin.

But when we dissect the war on Christmas what we find is a group of people who seem to want to control the language and application of this holiday in the larger society. It seems to stem from retail stores and public schools acknowledging that not everyone who is in their buildings in December celebrates Christmas. In fact other traditions have holidays and many simply want to enjoy the fact that they too can take advantage of retailer’s attempts to enhance the consumer aspects of this holiday. It appears however that phrases like Season’s Greetings and Happy Holidays are considered fighting words to some. It appears that trying to appeal to a diverse population that has been part of our culture for its entire existence is somehow seen as an attack on our culture. This has always baffled me but it appears those who see Happy Holidays as not an embracing of diversity but an attempt to stop American culture to remain as it was when they were kids. A time when we didn’t acknowledge those that might not follow the majority cultural practice and they were left out of many things Christians enjoyed. What these people seem to me worried about is losing not their religion or their culture but not having an exclusive hold on what it means to be an American. It is what leads to anti-immigration stances, English only laws and more recently statements like it should be legal to block Muslims from building mosques and that we should kick them out of the military. There is a real fear among the people who for 200 years seemed to be able to keep many people out of fully experiencing the American dream. Today, as a country people are freer than they ever were and that seems to scare people.

But what the people ginning up the war on Christmas don’t seem to see is freedom for non-Christians to fully express their faith or lack thereof allows them to know their ability to celebrate their own faith will remain intact. As a culture we should embrace this diversity and understand that wrapped in the words Season’s Greetings and Happy Holidays are an expression of Christmas but so much more. Our founders understood for their time that we are a nation of diverse religious traditions and our history has been series of attempts both by law and practice to be inclusive of all. We must continue to grow as a nation and our strength comes from expanding the ability for all those who honor our values to participate fully in this wonderful experiment called America. If those who feel Happy Holidays is an assault on a 2000 year old religious holiday and can destroy our culture as some have said then I pity their lack of faith in our system, our people and our country. Perhaps it is they that need to find a way to get their own house in order.

To all have a Happy Holiday season, enjoy whatever you practice and play at, and in the end find a time to enjoy the freedom that makes us all great.

Comments

You said exactly what I have been wishing I could put into words. I keep asking myself what is so BAD about wishing someone a Happy Holiday Season? Good post and Seasons Greetings to you and yours.
yaakov said…
thank you for your comment. It is an amazing cultural development.

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