Every year for the last 20 it seems there has been a conversation about a "war on Christmas". My liberal friends think my Christian friends are crazy, and my Christian friends think the Libs are going to hell...I think they are both combatants against the holiday and to a large effect toward religion as a whole.
You see, the war on Christmas isn't about saying Happy Holiday v. Merry Christmas. I usually great groups with a Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday! Why because it is my holiday and likely theirs as well. It might not be Christmas they celebrate, but we are often celebrating the same thing, the coming of Christ. The coming of a savior.
The war on Christmas, is not when stores say HOLIDAY SALE. In fact I prefer Holiday sales because Christmas sales commercialize the day. While we are on the topic, XMass isn't part of the war on Christmas either. X is for the Greek "Chi" the first letter of the Greek word for CHRIST. Mas is the latin word for Mass. Go figure, we have been using the X to signify Christ (abbreviate the word) since the 10th Century. Go Figure. So if you are looking to make a big deal out of something, could you actually have something that has no historical significance??? How about you actually look at a historical document once in a while?
So where is the war? Well the last paragraph is a good find for it. The War on Christmas, is in the idiots who make the garbage up just to have the fight.
For example: The School on Long Island that changed the words to Silent Night so that it ignores the religious foundation of the song. Really? The did it so as to not offend others. If you do not want to offend others, don't do the song. Why however would anyone be offended. (I mean anyone with a mind?)
Of course I grew up in a community where Christians were in a minority. Jewish neighbors were outraged when we performed a Winter concert where non secular music was featured. We sang age appropriate songs and we learned the music. Catholics new the religious significance of the Christian music, but not of the Jewish music (what's a dreidel?) The opposite was true as well. in order to sing the music with feeling, the stories of the music were related by the kids to each other like a book report. WOW did we learn a bunch of stuff. I learned about the oils that never ran out. The Jewish kids learned why the eve of Christmas was so important. We learned our religions were alike in many ways. We also learned that many parents were idiots and bigots. They would not let their children sing the Christian songs or say the words Jesus or Christ. Some wanted their children to quit the choir. Talk about closed minded. The few Catholic kids in the choir felt terrible for our friends. We felt embarrassed about our songs being bad for our friends, we were angry too because these were songs we loved. Some Catholic parents thought about a tic for tac response. It was very uncomfortable. Our parish Priest called the Rabbi. These two men of God, were completely flummoxed. What were these parents talking about?
We learned that the parents that began this stuff were not "regularly" attending religious services. We learned that both religious leaders understood the importance of religious music in teaching music to others and that most if not all of the greatest classical music was religious based. I also learned that our Priest and the Rabbi got together regularly were friends and that the Rabbi liked classical music especially Vivaldi!!
What was so important was that while we got protective about our "turf"s the parents of our community lost the actual meaning of the holidays. We were all waiting for the same thing. We were waiting for the coming of the Christ. For our Jewish friends, it was a Coming, for the Catholics it was a Second coming, but our religions wanted the same thing. They wanted Salvation.
I wondered how my Jewish friends dealt with the fact that "Santa" wasn't going to visit them. My father explained that pretty well. My dad embodied the spirit of Christmas. He told me that Santa was not a person, he was a spirit. Like the Holy Ghost (I don't think he agreed with the whole Holy Spirit thing but that is a story for another day) Santa came to us because we believed in him. The Holy Spirit came to the Jews when their fuel held out for eight days and in honor of that miracle our Jewish friends gave gifts to their loved ones like the gift God had given their ancestors. Dad would have hated all this war on Christmas talk. He would have been disappointed that someone would think to say Santa was white, or that Christians would be so hostile to others enjoying the Gifts of the season. Dad would do all kinds of things from great decorations to very private giving. I learned that the left hand should never tell the right hand what it was doing. I learned that being a Secret Santa was far more fun than getting credit for what you do. I learned that God loved me, and that He would forgive me, and that the Love of a Father ran very very deep. I learned that when one fought about things like Christmas that they denigrated the meaning of the word.
So Hannity, Fox, MSNBC, O'Reilly, the ACLU and the atheists are all in a war that doesn't matter. Christmas does not live in their debate or in the word Christmas or even in the Cress on the Village Green. It lives in our hearts. It lives in the stories we tell each other, the memories of family, the spirit of hope. When you are fighting about it, you show you don't understand it.
Today is my Dad's birthday. He was named for our Savior. Salvatore means savior in Italian, He would have been 81 today, but I lost him 13+ years ago. But he lives. Especially during this season. I miss him everyday, but I think of him everyday too, and that helps me to miss him less. I share his wisdom with you, so that you may share it with others. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all, and to you Dad, Happy Birthday in Heaven. I love you.