Every Christmas season it’s the same thing; a certain godless segment of the population feels the need to take up arms and wage their everlasting “War on Christmas.” These people will stop at nothing to usurp the holiday season from Jesus. They live to infringe on every Christian’s right to celebrate the birth of their saviour. And every year these heathens come a little bit closer to winning the war.
Oh sure, on the surface the Christmas season looks as healthy as it’s ever been. There are still strings of colourful lights draped about the city in a festive manner. There is still a massive coniferous Christmas tree mounted outside city hall. There is still a church every few blocks with a sprawling nativity scene on display. And in every mall across the continent there are still enough Santas that every little boy and girl has the opportunity to tell their Christmas wish list to. But rest assured, beneath this concealing mask of a holiday season lurks the harbingers of the most blasphemous of all blasphemies.
I’m speaking, of course, of those who would dare utter the phrase “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.”
That’s right. These people have the audacity to wish me well in this season of giving and togetherness without a specific reference to my religious celebration of choice. So let’s get one thing straight: around here, Christmas is the top dog holiday. You can have your Hanukkah and your Kwanzaa and all your other secondary winter celebrations; even those pesky pagans can have their precious Solstice, but don’t you dare make us acknowledge that they exist by having to see or hear about them. Keep them in your own house behind closed doors, where religious celebrations that don’t pertain to Christianity belong. Don’t come around here trying to wish me “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings,” acting as though all those fringe holidays have just as much right to be here.
Or maybe we can be bigger than that. Maybe this season can be about more than any one religion or culture, or doesn’t even have to be about any religion or culture at all. Maybe it doesn’t need to matter if we say Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah or Season’s Greetings. Maybe it should only matter that we take the time to say anything at all. Perhaps the real miracle of this season is that we can pass a complete stranger in the street, both of us bundled up against the chill of deep winter and in a hurry to get out of the cold, and still take a moment to wish them well. I think it’s long past time that we shed the religious baggage that keeps us concerned with holiday terminology, and ultimately keeps us from sharing this festive season as a community at large.
So if you end up having to go to a “Holiday Concert” instead of a “Christmas Concert” at your kid’s school this year, try not to get too bent out of shape about it. Maybe there will be a little less Jesus-centric material, so your kid might have less of a chance playing the part of the Virgin Mary or one of the Three Wise Men, and you may have to sit through a song or two about something called a dreidel, but ultimately it will more fully embody what Jesus was trying to teach us: peace during the holiday season and acceptance of your fellow man.