Friday, December 24, 2010

There Is Really A War Against Christmas

This may not be the best day to write this, being Christmas Eve and all, but it is a reality that we as Christians need to face.
There is a real war against Christmas.
For many in parts of the world, it is deadly to even think about celebrating the birth of Christ.
Take Iraq.
Only two years ago, the Christian minority felt safe after years of bloodshed to openly celebrate Christmas in the Islamic-majority nation.
But not this year.
Because of threats by radicals, the Iraqi Christian community is urging Christians to not celebrate Christmas.
No Christmas carols. No decorations. No Santa Claus. No Christmas services. No acknowledgement of Christmas for those still holding fast for the Christian faith in an increasingly Islamic radical part of the world.
It is not only in a place like Iraq.
Coptic Christians in Egypt are increasingly under threat by Islamic radicals. And the government is very secular, but seemingly afraid to defend the Copts against the radical Islamics. Because the secular government of President Hosni Mubarak is hanging by a thread.
Now, that is the extreme, in your face hate of Christianity and an important event in the Christian calendar, Christmas.
But here in the United States, it is becoming more and more obvious every Christmas season that there are those that so want nothing to do with the Christmas season, they will go to great lengths to suppress the celebration.
For public schools, it is no longer Christmas break but Winter break. Or it is no longer the Christmas Ball but the Winter Formal. Distinct Christmas carols that actually mention that dastardly fellow, Jesus Christ, and his birth are out. Winter songs are in. No, can't say Merry Christmas. Must say Happy Holidays. A whole group of America's youts are being coerced that somehow, a Christian celebration makes people feel bad. Or worse, offends some.
And it is not just public schools.
So called government buildings can not call their Christmas trees that but must call it a Holiday tree. No manger scenes in front of a city hall. No, no, no. It may offend someone. Or make them feel bad.
The private sector also feels this wrath of a vocal and annoying minority.
Many seek to say the Happy Holidays. Many seek to discuss the other holidays around this time such as Hanukkah or Islamic holidays or that Kwanzaa one. I have no problem with being able to learn about these holidays. But nothing is discussed about Christmas.
In my line of work, I deal with people on the phone. Yesterday many were wishing a Happy Holidays. When one actually said Merry Christmas, I was so happy. It was genuine. It was not some politically correct forced malarkey.
See, I come from a mixed background.
My mother was a lapsed Christian and my father was a lapsed Jew.
Thus, we actually did blend Hanukkah and Christmas. Mostly secular, but we did light a candle on the first night of Hanukkah to remember those no longer with us. And at Christmas we did sing Christmas carols of all kinds, secular and religious. We had a Christmas tree. Put up lights. The whole nine yards. I just felt really good around this time of year. Never gave a thought that people thought all of this was such a bad thing.
When I was well of age of an adult, I appreciated both the Hanukkah aspect and Christmas. And when I became a committed Christian, I found a deeper meaning to what Christmas is all about. And continued respect for those not Christian that celebrate something else or nothing at this time of year.
But what bothers me is this relentless assault against the religious celebration of Christmas.
So much of what we see is kind of new.
The Christmas trees, the elevation of St. Nicholas, aka Santa Claus. the lights all of that. These were not always part of the Christmas celebration. They are very new in the 2,000 year history of the Church.
But people should not be offended or bad. It is the majority of people celebrating a day of great meaning. Christmas, to me, is a very inclusive holiday. It is a mix of secular and deep spiritual meaning. Anyone really can celebrate the day from both or one or the other.
So, please Christmas haters, stop already. You are the Scrooges that have other problems. Let us celebrate Christmas in a real way. Not a politically correct way. Let us wish others a Merry Christmas. Let us sing all carols, not just winter ones. I promise, we will not take non-Christians to the nearest church and convert them. Nor will we find the nearest body of water to baptize them. We just want to share a wonderful holiday with others. And let them find their own meaning of Christmas.
Please, stop the war against Christmas.

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