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by Cameron Cortez, guest writer.  [December 20, 2002]




[]  Although it was once the very core and whole reason for a "holiday season" -- Christmas is fast becoming the one holiday that dare not speak its name!

Instead, while Americans are urged to fight and die for religious freedom in Afghanistan and Iraq, back home Americans dare only refer to Christmas as "the holidays" or "this festive time of year" or "a time for giving" or "that special time of year." Many don't dare utter "Merry Christmas," instead daring only to wish one another a "Seasons Greetings" or "Happy Holidays."

Even more shockingly, the silencing of Christmas is being done in the name of tolerance and inclusiveness -- a tolerance intolerant of this key holiday to many Christians, and an inclusiveness exclusive of Christians.

A few years ago, I saw an American Airlines ticket office that had a small sign on its desk: Closed December 24 for the holiday.  Only one holiday fell on December 24 that year -- Christmas Eve!  Yet American Airlines dare not utter it -- lest anyone be offended! 

There could be no other reason, for the flip side of the sign stated: Closed January 1 for New Year's Day. Amazingly, while American Airlines had no trouble saying "New Year's Day," it was unable to utter "Christmas Eve"! Imagine if a Christian were offended by the mere mention of Kwanza, Chanukah, Ramadan, or Yuletide (the pagan winter solstice).

They'd be considered hateful and intolerant, and told that America is a multicultural country.  Yet hypocritically, the opposite rule applies to Christians -- who are deemed intolerant for mentioning their holiday! Christmas is one culture too multi for multi-culturalism.

Instead of being asked to share the stage with other religions, Christmas is being entirely shoved off! This politically correct silencing of Christmas goes beyond the earlier attacks of commercialization and secularization.

Just a generation ago, Christmas was still a holy season, businesses unafraid to publicly display nativity scenes, and stars of Bethlehem, and angels heralding the baby Jesus. Santa only shared the stage. But increasingly, Christian symbols are being shoved aside by Santas and snowmen and snowflakes. No longer sharing, but entirely replacing!

Even more amazingly, I've heard that the colors "red and green" are suspect in some quarters, for being "too Christmas-specific." And some people even find Santa offensive! -- because he's "too Christian"!

* But Not Everyone Celebrates...

A source tells me that when he began working in the IT department of a New York City insurance company in the 1980s, the employees held an annual "Kris Kringle", drawing each other's names, and secretly giving small gifts for whomever they picked.

But after the fall of Communism came an influx of Russian Jewish immigrants -- which is fine -- but they began complaining that "Kris" implied "Christ" and that "not everyone celebrates Christmas." So the "Kris Kringle" celebration was renamed "Grab Bag." "Grab Bag."

There's the "holiday spirit" -- gimme, gimme, gimme!

So it seems that publicly celebrating a holiday that "not everyone celebrates" is offensive and insensitive. But not everyone celebrates Halloween, Martin Luther King's Day, or Yom Kippur, or Saint Valentine's Day. Should they all be celebrated in secret, in the privacy of your homes, because "not everyone celebrates them"? Must you not wish someone a "Happy Birthday" unless the entire world also happens to be celebrating their birthday on that day?

I can understand religious minorities feeling uncomfortable about not sharing a majority holiday, but asking Christians to keep their holiday in the closet is an unfairly big "solution" to demand. Imagine if the Jews in Israel were asked to hide all their religious symbols because it made Christians and Muslims feel excluded. The Taliban tried to squelch all other religions. But Americans should feel free to publicly celebrate whatever they want, whether they're in a minority or majority.

* Mean-Spirited "Corrections"

It's bizarre how Christmas inspires non-Christians -- and atheists too -- with a sudden zeal for historical trivia, compelling them, unrequested and out of nowhere, to "correct" the historical record for Christians. Over the years, I've heard many people offer such helpful "corrections":

"December 25 was originally a pagan holiday," they'll suddenly spout, with a phony smile. (So what? Everything was originally something else. For instance, pagans originally conducted human sacrifice.)

"Jesus didn't celebrate Christmas -- He wasn't even Christian, He was Jewish." (Yes and no -- He was both. He was a Jew who believed in a Judaism that regard Him as the Messiah, which the Jews of the day split over, and those who followed Jesus -- Jew and gentile -- became called Christians, and Christmas is our holy day. But again, so what?)

"Jesus wasn't even born in December, He was born in August."  (And yet again, so what? Don't want to celebrate in December? Then don't! But leave us who do alone -- and that includes you "fundamentalists" who are forever telling other Christians how to "do it right".)

The worse thing about such remarks is not their accuracy or lack of -- it's their mean-spiritedness. They seem motivated not by a passion for history, but by a desire to snipe at Christmas, and to de-Christianize or discredit Christmas as much as possible, while appearing innocent.

"I'm only pointing out a fact!", they'll blink innocently. Hey, nobody asked you! You want facts? All religions rest on inconclusive historical and factual grounds -- which is why religion is a matter of faith.

There is evidence that Moses was an Egyptian, not a Hebrew. There is evidence that Wicca is a modern, made-up religion. One can poke historical holes into Islam. And there may be contrary evidence too. So what?

It's mean to try and discredit someone else's religion on their holy day -- especially when no one asked you! It's mean even if you're an atheist and don't have a religious holiday of your own.  Especially if you're always arguing that all wars are started by religious arguments!

* Can't We All Get Along?

Thankfully, there are nice people too in all religions. A few years ago, a friend and I ate Christmas dinner in a Chinese restaurant (like in A Christmas Story, but not so fancy). Maybe they were open because they weren't Christians -- but still, the waiter wished us a "Merry Christmas." It made me feel good. Although it was a small thing, I thought about it whenever I passed that restaurant.

I've also known a few Jews who've wished me a "Merry Christmas." It always made me feel good, and want to wish them a "Happy Chanukah" back.

I wonder how many non-Christians realize just how appreciative most Christians are when you wish them a "Merry Christmas." How it makes us feel good, and want to reciprocate.

When you pressure Christians to shut up about Christmas, we don't stop thinking about it.  But now we're also thinking that you're a mean and intolerant person. Most Christians don't want to argue over religious history, or to force other holidays into the closet. We only wish to be part of the "multi" in multicultural. To have inclusiveness also include the baby Jesus. To be able to say "Merry Christmas" -- in public and at work -- without being scolded for intolerance or for creating a hostile work environment.

* YOU Can Help Save Christmas!

Christmas can easily be saved, just by voting with your dollars and your voice. Say "Merry Christmas" -- a lot! To waiters, store clerks, everyone.
Only send greeting cards that say "Merry Christmas." None of this "Happy Holidays" or "Season's Greetings" or "Winter Festivities" -- not unless you're sending a card to a non-Christian. (They'd probably prefer something specifically geared to their own holiday.)

Go to the post office and buy those first class Madonna postage stamps (no, not the singer). Buy a whole year's supply! No reason you can't use them all year long. Aside from reminding people about the True Meaning of Christmas, the post office prints according to usage. The more we buy and use, the more they'll print next year.

You can figure out other ways. Don't be mean about it. But don't hide in the closet, either.

"Merry Christmas" -- use it or lose it!

The Weekly Universe has buttons (see logo, right) and other items available to help YOU save Christmas!

* Christian Christmas Shows to Raise YOUR Kids By!

They don't seem to make Christian Christmas specials anymore, but there are still some old classics available on VHS and DVD.
The best one is the 1965 cartoon, A Charlie Brown Christmas, in which Linus dares explain the True Meaning of Christmas. He actually mentions Jesus!  I can't imagine that getting past the TV censors these days! Just about the only time you hear the J-word ("Jesus") on radio or TV these days is on Sunday morning, or when those televangelists pay to get on the air.

You can also get A Charlie Brown Christmas as part of the Peanuts Holiday Collection, which includes the classic Great Pumpkin Halloween episode, and the Thanksgiving special (although you don't seem to save any money by buying them as a group).

Two other oldies but goodies are The Little Drummer Boy and Nestor, the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey. The first is based on the song, and the latter is a sort of prequel, the tale of a donkey who bore Mary to the manger. Nestor is like Dumbo -- everyone mocks Nestor because his big ears are a "handicap." But he's a very special donkey, who turns out to have a very special mission.

Both are done in stop-motion animation, and each is part of a DVD set that includes other stop-motion Christmas specials, such as Santa Clause Is Coming to Town, and Rudolph the Red-Nosed-Reindeer.

Another must-see is the 1980 TV movie, Mr. Krueger's Christmas, starring Jimmy Stewart as a lonely widower on Christmas Eve who finds comfort through the Christ child. Produced by the Mormon Church.

* Linus Explains the True Meaning of Christmas...

In A Charlie Brown Christmas, Charlie Brown asks in despair if anyone can explain the True Meaning of Christmas to him. Linus says that he can, and then explains:

"...And there were in the same country
shepherds abiding in the field,
keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them,
and the glory of the Lord shone round about them:
and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold,
I bring you good tidings of great joy,
which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior,
which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you;
Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes,
lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel
a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace, good will toward men."

Luke 2:8-14

    Oh yes ... Merry Christmas!

The Weekly Universe has buttons (see logo, left) and other items available to help YOU save Christmas!

Also read The War on Christmas.

Copyright 2002 by


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