We’re just two weeks from Christmas, and thankfully I’m hearing less about the so-called Christmas Wars this year. Not that there aren’t instances, like the banning of creches in Santa Monica, but there seem to be fewer of them. What I did hear a few days ago was a song from probably forty to fifty years ago, about Christmas being the best holiday of them all, better than Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day and the Fourth of July—and it brought a real pang to my heart.
For the vast majority of us, Christmas has always meant something incredibly special. We don’t decorate our houses for generic “holidays,” we decorate them for Christmas (and for Halloween, but that’s not on the cultural chopping block as Christmas has seemed to be). Children don’t eagerly wait and wait and wait for the Fourth of July. We don’t have weeks’ worth of music about Thanksgiving. We’ve never had a month of people wishing each other Happy Easter.
I realize that Christmas is difficult for Jews, and irrelevant at best to other religions. I note, however, that it is not Jews who have led the attack on Christmas, so I’m not quite sure what’s called for by a sense of proper sensitivity to others’ feelings and experience.
In Santa Monica and elsewhere the anti-Christmas charge has been led by secularists, in a direct attack on the Christian religion. In one sense, that’s a case of “Yawn. So what?” I’m not threatened in a religious sense by the replacement of Christmas by “the Holidays.” .Jesus Christ can more than handle a temporary drop in popularity. The Church grew before Christmas ever became a big cultural event—and if Christmas ever became less commercialized, that would be a blessing. Obviously that’s not happening to “the Holidays.”
I grieve for two significant losses in spite of that. A generation is growing up without the Christmas message of Jesus Christ, God himself come humbly to earth to be among us, to teach us, and to rescue us from our own deaths. For those who do not learn that story, the effect is tragic.
And I regret that a small number of spoilsports want to take away the core meaning of the most special, most wonderful time of the year. At the risk of sounding insensitive I have to wonder, are they any better than a bunch of bullies who won’t let others have the fun they want to have?