When I was about twelve years old I first encountered the word XMAS. My mother told me that the “X” was intended to shorten the word Christmas, but that she didn’t really like the abbreviated word. “After all”, she said, “ It’s Christmas! The name of Christ should appear in the name of the holiday that celebrates his birth.”
As I see it, XMAS was just the beginning of the war on Christmas. There have been two major fronts on war on Christmas. The first assault is that of commercialism, for which we have no one but ourselves to blame. The second assault has been that from civil libertarian secularists, who believe that there is absolutely no place for Christmas in any public venue.
As far as the commercialism is concerned, I think we’ve come close to wrecking Christmas beyond repair. Christmas should be more like Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a one-day event. We get together with family, pray to thank God for our blessings, have a wonderful meal, and go home. The message of Thanksgiving is simple and unadulterated: It is a time to thank God for our Blessings.
Christmas, on the other hand, is a 4-6 week shopping jag culminating either Christmas Eve or Christmas morning with the opening of an insane number of wrapped presents. I would hate to admit how many Christmas mornings I’ve seen young children (mine and others in our family) open gift after gift, only to end up crying by the end of the day. Either a toy breaks, the batteries go dead, or some other kid gets what they wanted. Despite the incredible acquisition of numerous material possessions over a period of a few minutes, the kid ends up unhappy by the end of the day! Unlike Thanksgiving, where the reason for the holiday is known and celebrated, commercialism and gift giving has almost obliterated the true meaning of Christmas, which is to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.
The second assault on Christmas, from the civil libertarian secularists, has started to make even “token” Christians furious. A couple of weeks ago Lowes home centers had big signs outside their stores on which they advertised “Holiday Trees.” Bill O’Reilly covered this on his television program and within 48 hours Lowes had gotten so much heat that they decided to start selling “Christmas Trees” again. Target unwisely kicked the Salvation Army bell wringers off of their properties last year. Wall-Mart, seizing the opportunity, donated heavily to the Salvation Army and welcomed the bell-wringers to their stores. The means to which some secularists will go to litigate against the celebration of Christmas are amazing. Christmas parades are cancelled because they cannot be held on public streets. Public school choirs cannot sing Christmas Carols. The manger scene is banished from the front of the city hall or courthouse. Virtually every mention of Christmas on public property or at a public venue is prohibited.
The rationale is usually that some Hindu, Muslim, Jew, or atheist will be offended when the “religion of the majority is forced upon religious minorities.” In reality it is difficult to find a Hindu or Muslim that is disturbed with the celebration of Christmas in the United States. Jews have demonstrated an uncanny ability to assimilate into virtually every culture in the world. It is almost impossible to find a Jew that would object to Christmas. The atheists are the ones who stir the pot in this regard, encouraged and financed by the American Civil Liberties Union.
If I were living in a Muslim country I would expect Ramadan to be celebrated. When I go to Hindu-dominated India I appreciate and enjoy the Hindu festival of Divali. Any citizen of India that filed a lawsuit proposing that Divali should not be celebrated due to the fact that it offends religious minorities would be laughed out of the country. That lawsuit would never make it to court in India, as it shouldn’t. In the United States the case would probably end up in the Supreme Court.
Enough is enough. This is the United States of America where the dominant religion is Christianity. Christmas is a federal holiday in this country. It is downright silly to deny Christians the right to celebrate their holiday in this country. I’m not here to predict the apocalypse. I’m not saying that the Lord will destroy the United States because we chose to secularize Christmas. I’ll leave that for the more radical Christians.
I will, however, say that I’m fed up with this whole “happy holidays” scene. This year I’ve made it a point to say “Merry Christmas” instead of “happy holidays”. I don’t care if you’re a Jew or a Hindu or a Muslim…you’re going to get a “Merry Christmas” from me. You see; I’m a Christian. I’m neither a “rattle snake kissing” Jesus freak nor a “cram it down your throat” evangelical. I have, however, been raised from birth to accept Christ as my savior and to attempt to live my life in a way that mirrors his love for humanity. Despite the fact that I have fallen short of what is expected of me as a Christian, I’m still a Christian. Like a lot of my fellow Christians I’m sick of this phony assault on Christmas.
If a Jew wishes me a “happy Hanukkah”, a Muslim wishes me a “joyous Ramadan”, or a Hindu wishes me a “wonderful Divali”, I’m not in the least bit offended. I can enjoy their holidays just as they can enjoy Christmas. I don’t even mind if an atheist expresses his opinion that there is no God. But now it is the Christmas season and dammit, I’m going to celebrate the birth of Christ unapologetically.