This should be my last word, assuming no new controversy arises, this year. I have been intrigued by comments from many quarters from those who deny any problem exists to those who trying to do something about it. Cal Thomas seems to say that truly spiritual Christians don’t find much worth saving in Christmas. Others defend “Happy Holidays” as a legitimate greeting since holiday means “holy day.”
Point One – Believing, dedicated Christians have long held wide-ranging opinions about Christmas. Some groups do not celebrate it at all. Others honor the birth of Christ on another day. Some bring Santa to church, seeing in him the heritage of Saint Nicholas. Many decry the commercialization (Who doesn’t cringe to see Christmas merchandise at the end of summer?).
Point Two – Greetings, per se, are not that important. I am grateful to have people be friendly in any way they chose. No one wants to deprive others of their particular form of celebration, worship, or faith. It would be wrong to try to enforce some monolithic control over people in stores, schools, or government. Christians do have the liberty to say “Merry Christmas” when they choose, not shop at stores that further strip the holiday of its origins and meaning, and resist what seems to be an effort to keep the holiday.
Point Three – What matters is the intent, and it does exist, to separate Christmas from any public spiritual expression in the worst abuse of multiculturalism and political correctness ever seen. Christians are always free to remove themselves from the celebration of Christmas or celebrate privately in any manner they deem appropriate. The public, whether merchant, court, or school, has no right to remove the spiritual or remake the holiday into a secular observance. This plainly violates the Christian’s right to freedom of worship, free speech, and free assembly, depending on how and where it is done. No doubt, some rather nominal Christians are not defending things that are deeply spiritual, but they are standing up for something more than a party. I will not fault them for that.
Point Four – All of this fuss goes back to one simple truth. Everyone on both sides of the question recognizes that Christmas is, at the root, about God. The opposition wants to get rid of that religious element; the faithful do not want to give it up or, worse, have it taken from them or banned. Somehow in all of this, the name of Jesus Christ is spoken and remembered. His birth is honored with some of the best of human ideals—generosity, kindness, and love. Yes, the commercial, the garish, and the sentimental threaten to dilute or bury the good, but the good still has a chance as long as the name of Christ remains, even in something as little as “Merry Christmas.” I believe that He is pleased that so much good still manages to be done in His name, despite all the short-comings in the modern Christmas celebrations.
Point Five – One of my long-time pet peeves is that, due to the commercial influence over Christmas, the holiday is “celebrated” starting early in the fall but ends abruptly after December 25. Since this holy day honors the birth and incarnation of God in the person of Jesus, the “birth day” is the beginning, not the end! I like the old tradition of the 12 days of Christmas, of the late arrival of the wise men, or of celebrating the Epiphany. One way
Christians could reclaim their holiday would be to defy the secularly based custom and celebrate after December
In that light, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
BTW – I heard Josh Groban at one of the foster homes where I have tutored refugees. It was so nice I felt a loss
when I left and wasn’t hearing that beautiful music. So I went out and bought a recording immediately. He is amazing!