At this most blessed and magical time of year, I think a bit about the secularization of our lives. The jolly “Merry Christmas” has been replaced by “Happy Holidays” After all we don’t want to offend. Angels and nativity scenes are replaced with Santa and Reindeer or even just decorations and snow, the three wisemen with well… Lawsuits abound to prevent “A Charlie Brown Christmas” being played in grammar schools.
And saddest of all, the wonderful Christmas Music that filled stores and street corners is missing. Maybe the melody is there played softly so not to offent, but the words….
The story of Christmas, the birth of a savior, the shepherds, angels, and wise men, has been told various ways for two millennia. The story we usually hear in church was by Luke –
“ And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.”
You know the rest. If you read gospel author Matthew’s part of the story, you find a genealogy. Folks begetting folks all the way back to Abraham. Plus, we get the story of angels and the Maji from Matthew – So the Christmas story we knew as kids is a blending of the two gospels.
But I digress – How does this story, which has been the basis for such great art and music as well as some of the world’s great religions, harm anyone when its told in the city square. Why does a tradition that has been so strong for so long have to be demonized by a few?
I commend a story I found last week here.
So here is the question: why were my father and my husband (basically atheists) able to come in such close contact with religious symbols without being offended? And by the way, as far as I know, neither of them has ever suffered any ill effects from seeing a Nativity scene on public property.
Maybe instead of decrying Christmas for being so exclusive, why not look a little deeper and see that Christmas is probably the most inclusive holiday there is? You can take it all, or just a little, or totally ignore it.
My father could appreciate the beauty of the hand-crafted figures without having to believe in what those figures represented. My husband could show off his woodworking talents without having to accept that what he built is a representation of the birthplace of Jesus Christ.
To my Jewish friends, I say “Merry Christmas” and they say “Happy Chanukah.” We then laugh and give each other a hug. And why not?
May the warmth of this wonderful time of the year is with you and yours. From all of us here at Parking Today, Christian and Jew, believer and non, Merry Christmas, one and all.