Take Your ‘War On Christmas’ Talk And Shove It

by Bill Brenner on November 30, 2013

I’ve written a lot about how my mental ticks give me the holiday blues. But let’s face it: Sometimes the mood is sparked by the hypocrisy I see in capitalism, religion and government.

Mood music:

Every year in church I hear someone talking about the so-called war on Christmas, where Godless people apparently do everything possible to tear the Christ out of Christmas, from the public schools banning Christmas decorations to people saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.”

Then I turn on the radio or TV and see suggestions from retailers that everything would be just fine if we would all walk into Best Buy and max out our credit cards on gifts for all the special people in our lives.

I’m a devout Catholic and I agree with those who say we need to keep the “Christ” in Christmas. But to me that means celebrating the birth of Christ and what his arrival meant for humanity. It does not mean putting stupid bumper stickers on my car and sticking my nose in the air to anyone whose holiday customs don’t fit the strict teachings of the Catholic Church.

It means repaying the favor Jesus did for all of us by being as good as we can be. It means helping out family even when it’s inconvenient as hell. It means being the best parent and spouse we can be.

It also means respecting the broader array of beliefs people have and how they observe it this time of year. I think it’s ridiculous to get offended when someone says “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” It’s not about people being Godless. It’s about people realizing that there are a lot of cultural AND religious observances this time of year: Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day. If someone wants to wish you happiness during all these holidays, including Christmas, you should pay it forward instead of getting all high and mighty about your own beliefs.

That’s how I see it anyway.

Of course, there’s the other side of the extreme: school systems and government offices banning Christmas decorations because it might offend people of other religions and cultures. Here’s a thought so simple it stings my tired brain: Why not festoon the schools and government buildings with decorations observing every December holiday? Teach the Christian kids about Hanukkah and Kwanza? Make December about embracing spirituality in all its forms?

I guess that would be too much work.

Happy Holidays indeed.


{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

theprez98 December 5, 2011 at 4:23 am

This is an intentionally loaded question, but I am curious: what exactly would you teach your kids about Kwanzaa?

billbrenner1970 December 5, 2011 at 4:26 am

I would start by simply helping them research the meaning and customs of Kwanzaa and the history behind it. Of course, the schools should be doing this, too, along with lessons about all the other holidays this time of year.

theprez98 December 5, 2011 at 4:28 am

I’d focus on the history and its founder. It would turn into a good lesson in investigative research. 🙂

billbrenner1970 December 5, 2011 at 4:30 am

And what are your thoughts on the history and founder?

theprez98 December 5, 2011 at 4:37 am

(my apologies, I couldn’t reply in line below)

I won’t go into a whole lot of detail, but the Wikipedia article about Kwanzaa and (in fact) the “official” Kwanzaa home page are both good starts. There is a lot more out there about Maulana Karenga. I’d rather not taint your comment thread with my feelings, but rather let people look into the history and the man themselves and let them decide.

judipcook December 6, 2011 at 2:54 am

Thanks for this, Bill. I really appreciate your views on this subject.

billbrenner1970 December 6, 2011 at 2:55 am

I thought you might. 😉

Happy Holidays!

Nick Morgan December 6, 2011 at 7:40 am

Good post Bill! I too used to get caught up in the “Christmas Wars”, but over time have come to very similar conclusions as you have expressed here. If those of us who claim to be followers of Christ lived more like Him, maybe Christmas would have more meaning for more people. Just sayin’!
God bless, Happy Advent and Merry Christmas!

tracifoust December 7, 2011 at 6:41 am

You are AWESOME!!! Why can’t we have more like you in SoCal?

Mary December 7, 2011 at 10:02 am

Let’s not forget the Wiccian’s! And Dec 21st, longest night – the hope, wonder as the dark day begin to get lighter!
That is what I teach my son,

jmlindy422 December 11, 2011 at 4:52 am

And Bodhi Day, the day the Buddha achieved enlightenment. I think this post if fairly enlightening. We celebrate just about everything but Kwanza and Ramadan at my house. I think it’s kind of presumptuous to say “Merry Christmas” when you have no idea if the person celebrates Christmas or not. Thanks!

John Conner December 4, 2012 at 9:44 am

This whole controversy is bogus to begin with…any Biblical scholar worth his or her salt will tell you that Jesus WAS NOT born on December 25th – that is the date of the pagan feast of Yule, closely following the Winter solstice a few days prior…many, many traditions celebrate December 25th as a holy day, not just Christians. I am so sick of the Christian persecution complex and the false “war on Christmas” being propogated by media outlets such as “Faux News” (or is it “Fox News”?)…over 70% of the citizens in this country profess to be Christians…how are they being persecuted? 84% of the members of Congress profess to being “born-again” Christians, so again I ask you, where is the discrimination?

f0zzie November 30, 2013 at 9:30 am

Kinda reminds me of the so called “war on women.”

Andrea November 30, 2015 at 11:53 pm

I usually say Happy Holidays because we live in a very diverse area and I know many who celebrate holidays other than Christmas. However it is also a fairly conservative area, and some people object (or strongly prefer…) to the greeting. At this point my thoughts on people getting pissy when greeted by anything other than their holiday of choice is to let them know they can have a Merry, but forget about that whole Happy New Year. They want one holiday, they get one holiday’s greeting. /bah humbug

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