America is at war. No, not a war against a country. It’s a war on Christmas. Really, we have nothing else to fight about so we will fight about a holiday where people spread good cheer; give gifts to family and friends and distribute money, food and toys to those who are less fortunate?
Remember the good old days when people would smile, wave and shout the greeting, “Merry Christmas” with gusto and enthusiasm. Now if it is said, it’s said almost quietly or apologetically lest it offend someone who might not be of the Christian persuasion.
Christmas dates back to the early 4th century when the Roman church calendar first showed December 25 as Christmas. Even though no one really knows the day Jesus was born, Christmas was set aside as a day to celebrate His birth with a Christ mass.
Though it may have started in the church, many Christmas traditions including, Santa Claus, mistletoe, Christmas trees, Christmas ornaments, Christmas lights and especially gift-giving are welcomed by most people whether they have a religious affiliation or not.
As a matter of fact, if any group is offended by the heightened economic frenzy over Santa Claus and gift-buying it might well be Christians who are concerned that the money or debt incurred to celebrate the day overshadows the real meaning.
Americans are estimated to spend $467 billion dollars on Christmas this year, according to ABC News. It does seem that spending and making the economy go around might well be the reason for the season.
Recently, on a Christian radio program I was listening to, a caller said the management of the store they work for told employees the approved store greeting was “Happy Holidays” even if the customer says, “Merry Christmas” first. So if she wanted to keep her job she could not say “Merry Christmas”. In other words, she could not express her First Amendment right.
While many stores announce Holiday Sales most still have a line that says something like “Need it by Christmas?” The retail business well knows the value of the word Christmas. And despite what the governor of Rhode Island says those trees with ornaments and bright lights are not just holiday trees. Ever gone out with the family to cut down a holiday tree? No, they are Christmas trees.
However, let’s not argue. Christmas is not a time for fighting. It’s the time for Peace on Earth, goodwill to men. Though the song writers were talking about the end to a very different kind of war, the words to their song “Happy Christmas (The War is Over)” does remind us there are a lot more important things to stop fighting about than Christmas.
“And so happy Christmas for black and for white. For yellow and red ones, let’s stop all the fight, A very merry Christmas and a happy New Year. Let’s hope it’s a good one without any fear.” John Lennon and Yoko Ono, 1971