We’re in the holiday season and the perennial disagreements about religion, atheism and Christmas flood the airwaves. Advocates of all persuasions are invited onto talk shows to promote their beliefs or are challenged about them.
Full disclosure! I’m a traditionalist. Tradition nourishes a culture and helps shape a national psyche that gives its people a sense of who they are and how they got there. This is true of all cultures, races and nations. It is part of the collective DNA. Some of those groups honor tradition more, some less, but it is always there and should be celebrated as part of the glue that holds a group together. It should not be denied or eliminated, rather celebrated.
Christmas is a tradition. We revel in it and our families gather to celebrate it. Many movies and songs and stories have been inspired by it. Many of us partake in its religiosity. Many just like the jingle bells and gifts. But at its foundation is the birth of a man named Jesus Christ, who has been the driving force of this celebration for centuries. Even though the “jingle-bellers” emphasize more the secular trappings of the day, I bet they’re still aware of the day’s religious significance – the birth of Christ.
Some literalists argue that Christ was really born in April, or that we really don’t know what day He was born. So what!? Historically, He WAS born. Our questionable knowledge about the exact date of His birth doesn’t diminish its importance. He WAS born. The wholesale and deliberate changing of “Merry Christmas” to “Happy Holidays” destroys a part of our cultural and national identity and is an insult to those who believe in the Lord.
Yes, I know there are some traditional popular Christmas songs like Happy Holidays, which I believe, is the only one that uses the “holiday” word. It was written for the film Holiday Inn and was sung in the film at New Years Eve, the intention being to wish a ‘happy holiday’ to everyone for the whole new year to come, and not a replacement for the word Christmas. Ironically, the song was written by the great Irving Berlin, who also wrote arguably the greatest popular Christmas song, I’m Dreaming Of a White Christmas. Mr. Berlin was a Jew and even HE got it. Oh, and Bing Crosby sang both of them.
Why this ‘holiday’ insult to the tradition and belief of a majority of Americans? I believe it originates in denial of the true meaning of Christmas. There could be a lot of reasons for this denial — emotional, psychological, intellectual. This is the work of therapists, not me. My feeling is that during this season the secularists have nothing to believe in other than denial. They need to justify their denial by attacking those to whom that true meaning, well, means something. It’s sad, really. Here comes a great day for the country’s religious majority and they can’t or won’t participate in the birth of Christ. Their answer, then, is to attack and demean the day. It must be terrible to carry a bellyful of hate for these two or three weeks.
So, while most of us celebrate Christmas, they celebrate ‘mas.’ To them I wish a Merry Xmas and I hope they put on some Elvis and start Rockin’ Around the Holiday Tree.