Christmas belongs to all of us, not just the self-appointed enforcers of orthodoxy
(NOTE: This post is an adaption of several from years past.)
With Thanksgiving almost a week behind us, Christmas season is now in full flower.
It’s my favorite time of the year — always has been and probably always will be.
No, I’m no longer the devout religionist I was when I was a Catholic altar boy. Far from it. But I retain an almost child-like love of the yuletide season. I like Christmas music and Christmas movies and Christmas spirit and all the other cultural trappings of the occasion.
And I’ll be damned if I’m going to let the folks at Fox News or any of the other Christmas Nazis tell me how I should observe this special season. If I choose to say “happy holidays” to my friends and acquaintances, I don’t care if it somehow offends the sensibilities of the insufferably sanctimonious people who are forever harping about the imaginary War on Christmas.
Where do these people get off with their pretensions of ownership of Christmas? Their endless whining about how the rest of us observe the holiday is just part and parcel of the culture of victimization they’re forever peddling among their fellow right-wing loonies.
Oh sure, they can find isolated examples of public schools that carry secularism too far with a ban on religious Christmas carols or some such silly censorship. But to pretend that these incidents are commonplace or represent some galloping godlessness in our society is to ignore the fact that our culture is awash this month with more Christmas symbolism than at any time in the past.
When I was a kid, the Christmas season didn’t start until December, and its last vestiges disappeared shortly after New Year’s Day. Thanksgiving leftovers were long gone before Christmas trees or other decorations went up. But these days, the Christmas season starts soon after Halloween and lasts for two months. Some people even leave their Christmas trees up until the Super Bowl in February.
And to those people who complain that Christmas is insufficiently religious anymore, my response is simple and fair-minded: I’m not going to tell you how you should formulate your sense of spiritualism, and I’ll thank you not to tell me how I should formulate mine.
Incidentally, the image at the top of this post is a screen-shot from Fox News Channel. Notice the absence of any mention of Christmas or any hint of religion. I trust that the godless functionary responsible for such a sacrilege has been summarily sacked.
ADDENDUM: In a vein similar to mine, pundit David Sirota had this to say a few years ago:
One of the defining qualities of late December is the predictable and ritualized nature of America’s holiday season. Other than discovering what’s inside the wrapped gift boxes, there’s no mystery or suspense to it anymore. The Christmas music starts right before Thanksgiving. Then come the flickering lights, the red-and-green decor, Hollywood’s vacation movie blitz, and finally, with media charlatans turning the key, the fake outrage machine rumbles back to life.
Like a narcissist’s souped-up 4-by-4, this turbocharged colossus of self-righteous indignation makes a lot of noise and leaves a mess in its wake — but ultimately says a lot more about its drivers’ pitiable insecurities than anything else…
In a majority-Christian nation whose politics and culture are steeped in Christianity, these zealots are interested in pretending their fellow Christians are somehow oppressed, contradictory facts be damned.
In propagating such an illusion, they’re not earnestly embodying their religion’s missionary spirit. Instead, they’re manufacturing victimhood, all to gin up sympathy and create a rationale to continue ramrodding their theology down everyone else’s throats.
That some feel this need to push their faith with such craven tactics speaks volumes about the nature of spiritual self-doubt today. Sure, our tumultuous world of bombast and chaos leads us to assume that the loudest are the most devout. But in practice, those who are truly comfortable in their faith are often the most humble about their orthodoxies because they have nothing to prove. By contrast, those who are the most insecure in their beliefs can sometimes be the most in-your-face about their dogma.