December 10, 2011

War on Christmas

For a while I was writing "Merry Christx" as a tongue in cheek commentary on those who write things like "Merry CHRISTmas" etc...  I never got a single laugh, and most likely was thought to be sincere in my critique of the alternative.  Either that or they thought I really hate Christmas Mass.

As a child, I remember the day someone pointed out to me that "Xmas" wasn't just a harmless abbreviation for the cumbersomely long "Christmas" but was literally crossing out the name of Christ from His own birthday.  "THOSE SNEAKY BASTARDS!" I thought.

You see, Christmas to me was, and will always be, a celebration of the child-god Jesus' birth, despite being fully aware that He is recorded biblically to have been born in the Spring, and that December 25 was adopted by the church to make  the state religion of Christianity easier for folks to swallow as it was already the big birthday of their previously worshiped deity.  I get that.  But it still serves as a marked calendar day to remember the story of the Nativity and has still produced a season that is truly the most wonderful time of the year.

Despite the character saving benefit of the abbreviation when, let's say, tweeting about the unbirthday, I can never quite bring myself to use it.  I am no longer aghast or offended when others do; this is why:

We can no longer argue that Christmas, as we now know it, belongs exclusively to Christians, anymore than Catholics could argue that it belongs exclusively to Catholics (though if they did argue that, they would have a point, wouldn't they?  They set the date, and it is their religious practice of midnight mass that coined the name Christ's Mass).  If we can so easily ignore the state-regulated origins of the Christmas holiday and in turn incorporate the entirely secular (and in some cases, pagan) traditions and decorations into our yearly celebration, why must we be offended when such traditions are placed under the "holiday" umbrella.

I always thought (and think I was correct in thinking) that "Happy Holidays" referred to the entire season of holiday magic, starting with Thanksgiving and ending with New Year's.  This recent trend to think that a wish of 'Happy Holidays' is somehow an affront to one's religious sensibilities offends me much more than the X in Christmas ever did.  A wish of Merry Christmas is quite appropriate on December 25th, while a wish for Happy Holidays is an equally appropriate wish for the entire season.

We should also recognize that Christmas shares a month with a (much older) Jewish holiday, and a wish of "Happy Holidays" by retailers and neighbors alike is a respectful move toward inclusiveness rather than an assault on Christianity.

As far as I'm concerned, Christmas belongs to anyone who wants to celebrate it however they want to celebrate it as long as I'm able to do the same.  Perhaps if we weren't so insistent in shoving the Christ in Christmas down everyone's throats, we wouldn't find as many objections to publicly displayed Nativity scenes and the like.  The so called "war-on-Christmas" is a lie that would turn inclusiveness into offense where there is none.

1 comment:

  1. You just got a laugh from me for "ChristX". Out loud. In my cubicle.