I have noticed among many of us who do celebrate Christmas…
We celebrate his birth.
We observe his death.
We celebrate his resurrection.
Everything between? Not so much.
Jesus didn’t demand we celebrate his death, or his birth. He did ask we listen to his words and, hopefully, learn from them. He didn’t pick the purest people to be his disciples, and they often missed the meaning in his words, let him down. He never demanded we “keep the Christ in Christmas.” But I suspect he would rather we all get something out of the celebration of his birth, even if that’s not when he was born. Even if it means we spread the joy by saying “Season’s Greetings” instead of “Merry Christmas,” or call the tree a holiday tree: a symbol that literally has nothing to do with Christmas… adopted from other cultures, another faith. …like garland which started as the intestines of the enemy, but was turned into something that helps celebrate he who has been called , “The Prince of Peace.”
Once we were wise: we took a pagan celebration and turned in into a celebration of, not only his birth, but a celebration of lights, of good will; something where Jews, Atheists, Agnostics… folks of all faiths, or lack of faith… could enjoy and feel some of the joy found in believing. Believing we could be kinder to each other, that old grievances could be passed over and we could try to care for each other despite differences: at least once a year. We visited with them. They visited with us. At least stopped to wish them well, or drop off something we made: cake, pie… Even if Gene next door was a “damn Liberal,” or Markie a Jew. Uncles and Aunts who were obnoxious came with gifts. or we brought them gifts. Scrooge, who certainly resembled those who think teachers, firefighters and the police are lazy compared to the 1%, was considered a villain… until he was redeemed.
“Kind” was the word for the season.
Schools held Christmas plays that included all, or other seasonal offerings. My elementary had a Christmas pageant: with shepherds, angels… Since even then I traveled a lot I spoke with other children who had plays based on Santa, or the season. But no one had to be part of that who felt it wasn’t appropriate, and I remember a permission slip had to be signed before I could be one of two angels announcing the birth, or even just go.
Not a “permission slip” done out of intolerance, but to make sure all who were there enjoyed and parents weren’t offended if they’d rather their child observe in a more, or a less, traditional manner. Why? Because we’re a society with Christians, Jews and many other faiths, or lackthereof.
Now, instead, the demand is we must all use the most theologically, politically correct, words, or just shut the hell up. A Christmas tree must be called a Christmas tree, even though its origin is, at best, suspect. “Season’s Greetings” is painted as some supposed horrific war cry of a very mythical secular army, even though there’s nothing negative at all: except it is inclusive.
But they’re right, in a way. There is a war: a war they are making. It is a war against anyone who isn’t perfectly correct theologically, who has the wrong faith system, or simply hasn’t decided. It’s a war worthy of any fanatic who thinks only they should enjoy the season. It is a war that takes more than a few firm steps down a path trod by the Crusaders and Inquisitors. A yearly attempt to fly a rhetorical plane into all who think we really should care for our neighbor, respect the beliefs of others.
Welcome to the religious Right’s idea of “Christmas.” Now observe Christmas in a theologically correct way or their revised version of Jesus will gut you and serve you for for Christmas dinner, or nail you to a Reich Wing media driven cross.
Yes, FOX, I’m talking to you.
I’m waiting for them to demand Santa be banned. After all the current Saint Nick bears little resemblance to the original. Certainly they would ban the reindeer and tales of the North Pole too. Does reindeer taste good? In my multiple wild game culinary adventures I somehow missed that one.
I have read the Bible all the way through. Jesus never said anything that would indicate any of this was, or is, what he wanted. Indeed he would speak to all who would listen, and Jesus: a great storyteller, often spoke in parables. Santa is a parable, of sorts. And as far as theological correctness goes, no one demanded folks theological credentials be checked at the door when Jesus spoke.
Storytelling is a way for all to understand, not just some theologically, or politically, correct crowd.
There are those out there who want to turn Christmas into a season of hate. Hate those who don’t use the right words, who try to respect other beliefs. The War Against Christmas is real, but it is the warriors who demand theological and political correctness who lob the grenades, throw the rhetorical bombs.
And since they loathe anything, and anyone, who they imagine challenges their beliefs: even just by their mere existence… detest those who who aren’t worshiping the money changer-like “job creator” class… they probably would have been the first to drive the nails, or berate the baby who, who clearly, was not part of the 1%.
To them Christ is not the “reason for the season.” The season is just one more weapon to be used against those who dare to disagree, or follow some theologically incorrect faith.
So, to my readers…
Whichever makes you happy, or if all make you happy, well that makes me happy too.
Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
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