THE HOLIDAY THAT DARE NOT SPEAK ITS NAME
by Cameron Cortez, guest writer.
[December 20, 2002]
it was once the very core and whole reason for a "holiday season" -- Christmas
is fast becoming the one holiday that dare not speak its name!
Instead, while Americans
are urged to fight and die for religious freedom in Afghanistan and Iraq,
back home Americans dare only refer to Christmas as "the holidays" or "this
festive time of year" or "a time for giving" or "that special time of year." Many don't dare utter "Merry
Christmas," instead daring only to wish one another a "Seasons Greetings"
or "Happy Holidays."
Even more shockingly, the
silencing of Christmas is being done in
the name of tolerance and inclusiveness -- a tolerance intolerant of
this key holiday to many Christians, and an inclusiveness exclusive of
A few years ago, I saw an
American Airlines ticket office that had a small sign on its desk: Closed
December 24 for the holiday. Only one holiday fell on December
24 that year -- Christmas Eve! Yet American Airlines dare not utter
it -- lest anyone be offended!
There could be no other reason, for
the flip side of the sign stated: Closed January 1 for New Year's Day. Amazingly, while American
had no trouble saying "New Year's Day," it was unable to utter "Christmas
Eve"! Imagine if a Christian were
offended by the mere mention of Kwanza, Chanukah, Ramadan, or Yuletide
(the pagan winter solstice).
They'd be considered hateful and intolerant,
and told that America is a multicultural country. Yet hypocritically, the
opposite rule applies to Christians -- who are deemed intolerant for mentioning
their holiday! Christmas is one culture
too multi for multi-culturalism.
Instead of being asked to share
the stage with other religions, Christmas is being entirely shoved off! This politically correct
silencing of Christmas goes beyond the earlier attacks of commercialization
Just a generation ago, Christmas was still a
holy season, businesses unafraid to publicly display nativity scenes, and
stars of Bethlehem, and angels heralding the baby Jesus. Santa only
shared the stage. But increasingly, Christian symbols are being shoved
aside by Santas and snowmen and snowflakes. No longer sharing, but
Even more amazingly, I've
heard that the colors "red and green" are suspect in some quarters, for
being "too Christmas-specific." And some people even find Santa offensive!
-- because he's "too Christian"!
* But Not Everyone Celebrates...
A source tells me that
when he began working in the IT department of a New York City insurance
company in the 1980s, the employees held an annual "Kris Kringle", drawing
each other's names, and secretly giving small gifts for whomever they picked.
But after the fall of Communism came an influx of Russian Jewish immigrants
-- which is fine -- but they began complaining that "Kris" implied "Christ"
and that "not everyone celebrates Christmas." So the "Kris Kringle"
celebration was renamed "Grab Bag." "Grab Bag."
the "holiday spirit" -- gimme, gimme, gimme!
So it seems that publicly
celebrating a holiday that "not everyone celebrates" is offensive and insensitive. But not everyone celebrates
Halloween, Martin Luther King's Day, or Yom Kippur, or Saint Valentine's
Day. Should they all be celebrated in secret, in the privacy of your
homes, because "not everyone celebrates them"? Must you not wish someone
a "Happy Birthday" unless the entire world also happens to be celebrating
birthday on that day?
I can understand
minorities feeling uncomfortable about not sharing a majority holiday,
but asking Christians to keep their holiday in the closet is an unfairly
big "solution" to demand. Imagine if the Jews in Israel were asked
to hide all their religious symbols because it made Christians and Muslims
feel excluded. The Taliban tried to squelch
all other religions. But Americans should feel free to publicly celebrate
whatever they want, whether they're in a minority or majority.
* Mean-Spirited "Corrections"
It's bizarre how Christmas
inspires non-Christians -- and atheists too -- with a sudden zeal for historical
trivia, compelling them, unrequested and out of nowhere, to "correct" the
historical record for Christians. Over the years, I've heard many
people offer such helpful "corrections":
* "December 25 was originally
a pagan holiday," they'll suddenly spout, with a phony smile. (So
what? Everything was originally something else. For instance,
pagans originally conducted human sacrifice.)
* "Jesus didn't celebrate Christmas
-- He wasn't even Christian, He was Jewish." (Yes and no -- He was
both. He was a Jew who believed in a Judaism that regard Him as the
Messiah, which the Jews of the day split over, and those who followed Jesus
-- Jew and gentile -- became called Christians, and Christmas is our holy
day. But again, so what?)
* "Jesus wasn't even born in
December, He was born in August." (And yet again, so what? Don't
want to celebrate in December? Then don't! But leave us who
do alone -- and that includes you "fundamentalists" who are forever telling
Christians how to "do it right".)
The worse thing about such
remarks is not their accuracy or lack of -- it's their mean-spiritedness. They seem motivated not by a passion for history, but by a desire to snipe
at Christmas, and to de-Christianize or discredit Christmas as much as
possible, while appearing innocent.
"I'm only pointing out a
fact!", they'll blink innocently. Hey, nobody asked you! You want facts? All
religions rest on inconclusive historical and factual grounds -- which
is why religion is a matter of faith.
There is evidence that Moses
was an Egyptian, not a Hebrew. There is evidence that Wicca
is a modern, made-up religion. One can poke
historical holes into Islam. And there may be contrary evidence
too. So what?
It's mean to try and discredit someone else's
religion on their holy day -- especially when no one asked you! It's mean even if you're
an atheist and don't have a religious holiday of your own. Especially
if you're always arguing that all wars are started by religious arguments!
* Can't We All Get Along?
Thankfully, there are
nice people too in all religions. A few years ago, a friend and I
ate Christmas dinner in a Chinese restaurant (like in A
Christmas Story, but not so fancy). Maybe they were open because
they weren't Christians -- but still, the waiter wished us a "Merry Christmas."
made me feel good. Although it was a small thing, I thought about
it whenever I passed that restaurant.
I've also known a few Jews
who've wished me a "Merry Christmas." It always made me feel good,
and want to wish them a "Happy Chanukah" back.
I wonder how many non-Christians
realize just how appreciative most Christians are when you wish them a
"Merry Christmas." How it makes us feel good, and want to reciprocate.
When you pressure Christians to shut up about Christmas, we don't stop
thinking about it. But now we're also thinking that you're a mean
and intolerant person. Most Christians don't want
to argue over religious history, or to force other holidays into the closet. We only wish to be part of the "multi" in multicultural. To have inclusiveness
also include the baby Jesus. To be able to say "Merry Christmas"
-- in public and at work -- without being scolded for intolerance or for
creating a hostile work environment.
* YOU Can Help Save Christmas!
Christmas can easily
be saved, just by voting with your dollars and your voice. Say "Merry Christmas"
-- a lot! To waiters, store clerks, everyone. Only send greeting cards
say "Merry Christmas." None of this "Happy Holidays" or "Season's
Greetings" or "Winter Festivities" -- not unless you're sending a card
to a non-Christian. (They'd probably prefer something specifically
geared to their own holiday.)
Go to the post office and
buy those first class Madonna postage stamps (no, not the singer). Buy a whole year's supply! No reason you can't use them all year
long. Aside from reminding people about the True Meaning of Christmas,
the post office prints according to usage. The more we buy and use,
the more they'll print next year.
You can figure out other
ways. Don't be mean about it. But don't hide in the closet,
"Merry Christmas" -- use
it or lose it!
Universe has buttons (see logo, right) and other items available to help YOU save
* Christian Christmas Shows to
Raise YOUR Kids By!
They don't seem to make
Christian Christmas specials anymore, but there are still some old classics
available on VHS and DVD. The best one is the 1965
Charlie Brown Christmas, in which Linus dares explain the True Meaning
of Christmas. He actually mentions Jesus! I can't imagine that
getting past the TV censors these days! Just about the only time
you hear the J-word ("Jesus") on radio or TV these days is on Sunday morning,
or when those televangelists pay to get on the air.
You can also get A
Charlie Brown Christmas as part of the Peanuts
Holiday Collection, which includes the classic Great Pumpkin Halloween
episode, and the Thanksgiving special (although you don't seem to save
any money by buying them as a group).
Two other oldies but goodies
Little Drummer Boy and Nestor,
the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey. The first is based on the song,
and the latter is a sort of prequel, the tale of a donkey who bore Mary
to the manger. Nestor is like Dumbo -- everyone mocks Nestor because
his big ears are a "handicap." But he's a very special donkey, who
turns out to have a very special mission.
Both are done in stop-motion
animation, and each is part of a DVD set that includes other stop-motion
Christmas specials, such as Santa Clause Is Coming to Town, and Rudolph
Another must-see is the 1980
TV movie, Mr.
Krueger's Christmas, starring Jimmy Stewart as a lonely widower on
Christmas Eve who finds comfort through the Christ child. Produced
by the Mormon Church.
Explains the True Meaning of Christmas...
Charlie Brown Christmas, Charlie Brown asks in despair if anyone can
explain the True Meaning of Christmas to him. Linus says that he
can, and then explains:
|"...And there were in
the same country
shepherds abiding in
keeping watch over their
flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of
the Lord came upon them,
and the glory of the
Lord shone round about them:
and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto
them, Fear not: for, behold,
I bring you good tidings
of great joy,
which shall be to all
For unto you is born
this day in the city of David a Savior,
which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign
Ye shall find the babe
wrapped in swaddling clothes,
lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was
with the angel
a multitude of the heavenly
host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace, good
will toward men."
Oh yes ... Merry Christmas!
Copyright 2002 by WeeklyUniverse.com