Sunday, December 11, 2005

War on Christmas

If you're a FoxNews watcher you'll have seen the hew and cry regarding the war on Christmas, a fact highlighted by: John Gibson, Neil Cavuto and Bill O’Reilly. I happen to agree, there is a conscious effort by local governments, businesses and schools to transform a unique American adaptation of Christmas into some generic winter holiday. Presumably this is to avoid offending anyone who sees a religious (Christian) component to the season. FoxNews has chronicled some truly ridiculous attempts such as the rewording of Silent Night, changing it to an ambiguous secular tune, and the barring of red and green in a Plano, Texas public school because the colors were too “Christmassy”.

This is political correctness run amuck and we need to push back. I’ve seen other news shows where the contention was that the war on Christmas is a contrivance by FoxNews to sell books and build audience / market share. The truth is, the war exists. You can see it in the stores (try to find a nativity scene or the words, “Merry Christmas”), in advertisements (try to find anything other than “happy holidays”) and in the banishment of Salvation Army bell ringers from Target Store entrances.

If you don’t believe it and you’re anywhere from 35 years or older, pay attention and check the differences between what you remember as a child or young adult and what you see today.

What I find extremely interesting, on a different level, is that the current war on Christmas has a parallel to a previous one. You may need to be older than 35 to remember this one. The battle the last time was against the commercialization of Christmas – taking Christ out of the holiday. That means in the last 50 years or so we’ve seen Christmas evolve from primarily a religious celebration into a highly commercialized event, albeit still with a religious connotation, and now we’re seeing the next step where anything that ties the holiday to Christianity is being blurred, erased or trivialized.

If we let this happen, we’re a collection of fools because we’ll lose the heart of what is not only a religious celebration, the birth of Christ, but one of the most important family holidays on the calendar.

Christmas, at least for me, is a time when the importance of family is paramount. Both my wife and I look forward to our annual trek to Dallas to be with my brother and his wife, my kids and their children. We spend a considerable amount of time in preparation for the trip, like a couple of kids we start weeks prior, shopping (that danged commercialization) for gifts to take as well as to ship to other family scattered all over the country, and Margie (bless her heart) spends weeks baking cookies to share with all.

This year the holiday is even more special since it is our first as husband and wife and the first in decades for us both as active / practicing Catholics.

War on Christmas? Not in this home.

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