The Christmas season brings with it many feelings, and one of those feelings for American Christians, unfortunately, is frustration at the antics of the silliness which we've come to call the war on Christmas.
Now, I don't have any great theological or constitutional treatise on why we must celebrate Christmas, and only Christmas, in the last month of the year. Of course, Christians should celebrate the birth of our savior, but I've read that it's more likely that Jesus was born in April anyway and, actually, who really knows when His birthday is?
I realize that different religions and people groups celebrate different things this time of year, and I don't have a problem with the greeting “happy holidays!” if the holiday a person is celebrating is unclear.
What bothers me is the malicious pettiness which seeks to white out any reference to what made this time of year such a big deal in this country.
Americans love Christmas time.
Christmas movies and music have their own well-populated genres. People spend ridiculous amounts of time, money, and electricity on U2-worthy light shows in their front yards. Most American families will cut down a tree and haul it into their living room, and if you can't have a real tree, some company will make a realistic toy tree to put in the corner so you don't miss out on the tradition. We will sit around and watch cartoons and listen to music from the fifties while drinking eggnog, eating cookies shaped like deer, and letting the fruitcake hold down the table cloth.
I just read a Forbes blurb saying that Pine trees are a 2 BILLION dollar industry when you cut them down young and call them Christmas trees.
We do not do all of this to celebrate the Winter Solstice, or Kwanzaa, or Hanukkah, although I'm sure those are perfectly pleasant and fun and “wrong”.
CHRISTMAS IS THE REASON FOR THE hiring of 768 thousand seasonal sales employees to compensate for the holiday shopping rush. You thought I was going to say “season” there, didn't you?
That's what bothers me about the war on Christmas. In a way, all of those warm and fuzzy traditions are Christmas gifts, “From: Christian tradition To: American culture.”
So when stores tell their associates not to say, “Merry Christmas,” in my grumpy opinion, they can just check themselves right on out of the Christmas cash cow.
And when towns tell their citizens they can't have a manger scene in the park, well, I hope they get the same reaction as Wadena, Minnesota.
After a threat of lawsuit from the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Wadena took down it's nativity display and sold it to the Wadena Ministerial Association, which placed it in front of a private hospital.
But, according to a local FOX affiliate, citizens of Wadena responded to the FFRF's bullying by putting their own displays up in their front yards.
One of the organizers said there were so many families getting involved that they'd thought about trying to set a Guinness World Record.
On top of that, where the life-sized manger scene once sat, an inflatable one has taken its place. One unhappy citizen read the town's bylaws and realized that individuals could rent the space, the display just couldn't be up over night. So several Wadena residents have reserved the space, inflating the display during the day, and taking it down every night.
I appreciate your pluck, Wadena.
Whether the shopping centers and department stores know it or not, many of us hold the real meaning of Christmas dear in our hearts.
We still recognize that the night of Christ's birth was the most important event in human history, the changing point in Our Story.
That Baby that no one seems to have room for is the only Hope of mankind.
May your Christmas be merrier for knowing it.
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