December 5

The “Attack” on Christmas (argh)

Christmas used to be my favorite holiday.  Nowadays, I think it’s so commercialized, it’s hard to enjoy it. So I find it strange that conservative Christians get upset that Christ isn’t in more stores, schools, and government offices. Every year around this time, the Spanish Inquisition is renewed. The Christian Right gets all upset about “the attack on Christmas,” and TV pundits, radio heads, bloggers and e-mailers start insisting that EVERYONE should celebrate Christmas and do it properly. Talk about insensitive ethnocentricity.

I’m a Christian, and I love my Christmas. But I have friends who aren’t Christians. I’m not going to shove my religion in their faces. I don’t want them to shove their religion in mine. They don’t anyway, so I’m not sure why my fellow Christians on the right get so upset. “The attack on Christmas” is fiction.

Still, the e-mails keep coming. Here is a poem I received this morning:

T’was the month before Christmas
When all through our land,
Not a Christian was praying
Nor taking a stand.
See the PC Police had taken away,
The reason for Christmas – no one could say.
The children were told by their schools not to sing,
About Shepherds and Wise Men and Angels and things.
It might hurt people’s feelings, the teachers would say
December 25th is just a ” Holiday “.

Yet the shoppers were ready with cash, checks and credit
Pushing folks down to the floor just to get it!
CDs from Madonna, an X BOX, an I-pod
Something was changing, something quite odd!
Retailers promoted Ramadan and Kwanzaa
In hopes to sell books by Franken & Fonda.
As Targets were hanging their trees upside down
At Lowe’s the word Christmas – was no where to be found.
At K-Mart and Staples and Penny’s and Sears
You won’t hear the word Christmas; it won’t touch your ears.

Inclusive, sensitive, Di-ver-si-ty
Are words that were used to intimidate me.
Now Daschle, Now Darden, Now Sharpton, Wolf Blitzen
On Boxer, on Rather, on Kerry, on Clinton!
At the top of the Senate, there arose such a clatter
To eliminate Jesus, in all public matter.
And we spoke not a word, as they took away our faith
Forbidden to speak of salvation and grace  

The true Gift of Christmas was exchanged and discarded
The reason for the season, stopped before it started.
So as you celebrate “Winter Break” under your “Dream Tree”
Sipping your Starbucks, listen to me.
Choose your words carefully, choose what you say

Shout MERRY CHRISTMAS, 

not  Happy  Holiday!

Argh!

·          Christmas is not in any danger. If anything, it’s taking over the world. Ramadan passed several weeks ago without much notice in the United States. Hanukkah’s going on right now. Did you know? Hard to tell around here, I assure you. But EVERYONE (Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus and atheists alike) knows that Christmas is coming in exactly 20 days. You can’t miss it.

·          The stores may not be using the word “Christmas” outright as much as they used to, although I don’t really see much difference from when I was a child. Still, is there any mistaking all those decorated trees, the big guy with the white beard and red clothes, and the shepherds gathered around a baby in a manger as anything other than Christmas décor?

·          I’m always amused by the conservatives who get irritated by what retailers do during the holidays anyway. Aren’t conservatives all about letting the “free market” regulate itself? Well, isn’t that what the retailers are doing? They’re just following the needs and wants of their customers. You want a free market, folks, this is what you get.

·          I still say “Merry Christmas” to lots of people. And I hear it back from a lot of people. There is no law against saying “Merry Christmas,” and there never should be; however, I would no sooner wish my Muslim students a “Merry Christmas” than they would have wished me a “Happy Ramadan.” To do so would be insensitive and rude, not to mention downright stupid. It has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with common courtesy.

·          Government offices have to be sensitive because they deal with ALL citizens. In addition, we have this pesky Constitution in the United States that is supposed to separate church and state. It was written by Christian men because they were worried about protecting Christianity. Christians seem to forget that, though, whenever the Constitution keeps them from getting what they want. Like a Nativity on the statehouse lawn. Can you imagine the uproar if someone tried to put a copy of the Koran or the Talmud on the statehouse lawn? To keep things fair, we just don’t allow any religious holiday décor in our government offices. Just like kindergarten, folks. If there’s not enough for everyone, no one should have any.

·          As for the schools, I can’t speak for all of them. But my son’s school is doing all sorts of activities for the Christmas season. They’re going on a field trip to our Children’s Museum which is celebrating winter holidays. They’re having a party the day before the break. They didn’t do any of that during Ramadan. Hanukkah will be over by the time the school celebrates. Maybe they don’t call these events “Christmas” activities, but who’s fooling who? I like the approach our school system is taking. They are using the winter holidays as an opportunity to teach students about different cultures and traditions. They’re talking about all the holidays, and they’re studying the way people in other countries celebrate them. It is a school after all, not a church. I’ll teach my children the meaning of Christmas at home or in Sunday School, thank you very much!

·          These people who get all in a tizzy about what they perceive as an “attack on Christmas” seem to me to be extremely self-absorbed and negative. Have they really looked around? Christmas is everywhere. Maybe we don’t say the downtown monument is decorated in Christmas lights, but those lights would NOT be there if it weren’t for Christmas. The Jewish residents of Indianapolis aren’t complaining about the holly and tinsel and twinkle lights. What do Christians have to complain about? Do Christians have to advertise their faith as well as their holiday trappings? For me, faith is a personal thing. I don’t feel the need to run around shoving my personal religious convictions in other people’s faces. I have my nativities in my home. I read the scripture to my children in my home. We sing Christmas carols IN OUR HOME. Sense a theme? The true meaning of Christmas cannot and SHOULD NOT be institutionalized, commercialized, advertised. Personally, I don’t want to see it in a store window or on a courthouse lawn. In the words of Charles Dickens, keep Christmas in your heart.  That is its true place.

·          My favorite conservative Christian uproar, though, has to be over the use of “X-Mas.” The fact that they’re offended by it exposes their ignorance about the history of their own faith. X is the Greek letter chi. When early Christians wanted to celebrate Christmas, they had to be careful not to let the anti-Christian authorities know. They used X-mas as an abbreviation to disguise their holiday. In modern times, the English letter X has taken different meanings. Good Christians who know their history, though, should not be confused by the term.

·          According to the ultimate hardliner conservative Christian, Oliver Cromwell, Christmas should not be celebrated at all. It is a decadent, frivolous holiday with too many origins in Pagan celebrations. When he and his religious reformers took over England in the early 1600’s, they outlawed Christmas altogether (An Outlaw Christmas, history.com).

Christmas is a wonderful holiday, and I love it. Most of my family and friends celebrate it. Even my agnostic husband likes Christmas and does not object to our creches, the angel on our tree or the reading of the book of Luke. We keep Christ in Christmas in our home where He belongs. No, thanks, but I’d rather not see Him in Wal-Mart or at Starbucks. I prefer to keep Him close.


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Posted December 5, 2007 by jpmahoney49 in category Current Events, Popular Culture, Purely Political