The Christm.., I mean Holiday Season
My neighbor has his twinkling lights hung across his front porch, and my family is planning how we re-arrange the living room to accommodate our ever-growing array of Christmas decorations. Two nativity scenes, numerous Santa's and Frosty's, and a village of small ceramic buildings all need to supplant other important family mementos, for at least a few weeks.
Thoughts naturally turn to our upcoming national holiday, and with those thoughts comes the annual battle over custom versus correctness.
What follows is my take on how stupid this has become, and hopefully demonstrates how far from rational this debate has veered.
The townspeople gathered in the square, bundled warmly against the frigid temperatures. Snow flakes drifted gently down from the sky, melting into cold pools on the tongues of happy little faces.
In years past, each person would bring a wrapped gift to exchange with a neighbor. Enlightened residents had pointed out that not everyone could afford to buy a gift, and those who could not would, feel guilty, so that tradition was wisely abandoned.
Similarly, the townspeople had stopped the practice of decorating their homes with electric decorations. Some were offended; others felt it an unnecessary waste of electricity, and still others were upset that they were unable to afford decorations at all.
The candlelight, non-denominational church service, at one time an important part of the traditional celebration, was dropped so as to avoid offending those who don't go to church.
The tradition of exchanging cookies and cakes had just gotten too complicated. Peanut allergies, carbohydrate counters, and other special dietary needs had made baking a source of terrible frustration.
The large community dinner had faced the same complications, and was quietly forgotten.
The large Douglas fir in the town square had traditionally been decorated with lights and handmade ornaments, crafted lovingly by school children in their art classes. Unfortunately, since the new holiday requirements specified a completely non-religious celebration, there were too just many snowmen and snowflakes. The town leaders liked the idea of keeping the tree in its natural, undisturbed state.
Once everyone had gathered, the adults realized that the traditional songs of the season were almost all religious in nature or included aspects that some might find offensive. The traditional white dove release had been abandoned, since PETA had pointed out that some of the doves might be killed by birds of prey once released.
Slowly, quietly, heads hung in sadness, the families broke the circle and trudged back home. As they leaned into the cold breeze, most wondered if they had allowed the interests of a few to dominate the traditions and beliefs of the majority.
Boston has declared that the large tree in the city center will be called a holiday tree. Towns all over the country have removed nativity scenes from public display, and our schools, the supposed bastion of free speech and even freer thought, have carefully excised any reference to the true basis for this holiday.
Instead of encouraging other expressions of celebration, we have allowed a minority opinion to redefine how we celebrate a holiday. Agnostics and atheists argue that their right not to celebrate a Christian holiday is equal to the right of Christians to celebrate.
One might make a legitimate argument that for the many years that we openly celebrated Christ's birth; our Nation drew strength and a collective sense of identity through a month-long sharing of love and peace for our fellow man.
Freed from the bonds of political correctness, our families traded cookies and recipes, exchanged gifts, and forgot the little irritants that seemed so important in the spring, summer, and fall.
Muzak systems in department stores played the songs that brought a smile to our faces, without regard to offending people with different beliefs. In fact, nothing about this holiday was ever intended to divide, quite the contrary.
Today, the ACLU and revisionists are attempting to re-interpret the basis upon which we celebrate our Judeo-Christian tradition. Instead of the basis for our religious freedom being a prohibition from the government preventing our celebration of religion, these supposed scholars suggest that government has an obligation to prevent outward celebrations.
One wonders where this will end. Will our grandchildren or great grandchildren grow up in a world where any expression of faith is viewed as unacceptable? Will the Christmas holiday continue its decline from a celebration of the birth of a savior and prophet to hundreds of millions to a major retail sales event upon which the balance sheet of the stores are judged?
With a sense of defiance, my family will continue to celebrate the holiday in the manner we choose, ACLU and revisionists be damned. We'll listen to traditional Christmas carols, and maybe we'll roll down the car windows when a Christmas CD is playing like the idiots who play gangsta rap too loud.
We'll whistle Silent Night and Joy to the World, even in public. We'll assemble our nativity in a place of honor, the dominant symbol of our family heritage and tradition.
We'll wish our friends a Merry Christmas, and we'll do so out of a sense of love and a hope that our world will be a better place in the coming year.