Not Afraid To Say “Christmas”

Another Christmas is quickly approaching and with it yet another round of insults to the Christian faith. Increasingly we are afraid to utter the “C” word in public places, or in seasonal advertising. We wouldn’t want to offend those people of other faiths, you know.

Before I go any further, let me explain: I’m not one of those self-righteous fire-breathing religious types who reflexively seek vengeance over the smallest slight. I don’t argue endlessly over subjects like school prayer, or a cross on a government building. I refuse to accept the notion, held by so many, that my religion entitles me to special privileges in the public square.

But this year, it seems, this attitude of christo-phobia has reached an all-time high. You see, this politically correct positioning has become more and more clever; sometimes, if you blink, you’ll miss it. A few examples:

Not so long ago, every public school in the land gave its students a week off during March or April. They called it “Easter Vacation,” and it was supposed to be a time for spiritual reflection in honor of the Resurrection. Today they call it Spring Break, and for many it’s an excuse for boundless hedonism. Yet invariably, they manage to schedule it according to the ancient liturgical calendar with its shifting date. Interesting.

Not long ago, every public school gave its students two weeks off during December. They called it “Christmas Vacation,” and it was intended as a time for spiritual reflection in honor of the birth of Christ. Today they call it “Winter Break,” and for many it’s an excuse to sleep in, overeat, and go into debt with uncontrolled spending. Winter lasts three months, and you could schedule this observance at any time; yet it always happens to include the date of December 25. Curious.

Officially the schools have sanitized these observances of all religious meaning, but are they really fooling anybody? This observer says no.

Just the other day I saw a TV commercial for power tools that wished me a generic “happy holidays.” The joyful recipient of a belt sander knelt beside a perfectly symmetrical pine tree, festooned with tinsel and electric lights. Which “holiday” do they celebrate in this home? Hmmm…

Another commercial showed a happy family gathered around a large dining table for a sumptuous feast. As the cheerful narrator entreated us to shop at his supermarket during the “holidays,” I heard in the background the instrumental version of a familiar song. If I remember correctly, the lyrics include “Veiled in flesh the Godhead see; Hail th’incarnate Deity.” Which “deity” could this be? Wait, don’t tell me; I think I know this one…

In our local newspaper, I beheld a full-page ad for festive “holiday” events at a local shopping mall. They scheduled a time where the neighborhood children can come by for a visit with a jolly old fat bearded man in a red-and-white velvet suit. Allegedly he’s empowered to grant their “holiday” wishes, delivering gifts to children around the world with the aid of an oddly-constructed aircraft.

Among the holidays observed in December, I am aware of only one that employs such imagery. Of course it’s the one that we call Christmas, the date that we have arbitrarily assigned to the birth of Christ. I understand the concerns for cultural sensitivity, really, I do. I’m well aware that many of our fellow citizens don’t believe, and might celebrate other things (or nothing at all) during this time.

But somehow this correct-ness seems to go only halfway. For even as the dialogue speaks of a vague non-specific “holiday,” almost all of the visuals point to Christmas. In two months I witnessed one fleeting scene of a Menorah, and not a single Unity Cup. I’ve never seen a Hanukkah sale at Macy’s, nor a Kwanzaa sale at Home Depot. If we’re so eager to include and afraid to offend, why not?

The thing is, if it wasn’t for Christmas, hardly anyone would celebrate Hanukkah. Yes, of course, it’s a legitimate observance on the Jewish calendar; but it commemorates a relatively modern event (compared to, say, Passover), and holds no sanction in Scripture. American Jews make a big deal of this holy day because they’re a minority in a “Christian” culture, but in Israel it passes largely unnoticed.

If it wasn’t for Christmas, no one would celebrate Kwanzaa. It’s a contrived holiday that honors a bogus “African” culture that has never existed. It was purposely scheduled in late December to compete with Christmas and Hanukkah (read this article for more information). What these partisans refuse to recognize, of course, is that the Christian faith was huge in Africa long before it became a major force in Europe. And oh yes, the Christians on that continent predated the Muslims by about 600 years.

In our modern era we hear so much talk of tolerance, and inclusion, and accommodation. And no doubt I’m all in favor of such things. Yet as I go around the world I’m disheartened to see that, far more often than not, it’s the American Christians who must carry those burdens. Everyone else, it seems, can do as they please. Only a heartless bigot would ever complain.

I grew up in the melting pot of Los Angeles, and some of my earliest memories of preschool (apart from eating breakfast cereal out of a wax paper-lined cardboard box) are of the cultural diversity that surrounded me. My classmates hailed from every corner of the globe, and I learned to respect their unfamiliar languages and customs. And likewise, grateful for their new lives in a free and prosperous country, they respected mine. Not because someone indoctrinated these sentiments into us, mind you, but because it came naturally for us children with our blank-slate mentalities.

And yet as time went by in this same juvenile society, I learned how bullies get their kicks: In order to feel good about themselves, they feel compelled to tear someone else down. To boost their own self-esteem they must threaten yours. To assure their place in the playground pecking order, they must humiliate the competition. As we get older the vocabulary changes, along with the context; but human nature remains the same.

You live in a country where over 80% of us profess to be Christians. Among the rest, millions celebrate Christmas simply as an American cultural expression. If you choose to observe something else, or nothing at all, I won’t argue; you can do as you please. But if you’re offended by my expressions of faith, I don’t care. I’m not ashamed.

Get over it.

-Steven Hutson

Suggested Reading

Leo’s Toy Store

by Warren Peace

An instant Christmas classic for the whole family!

Leo is the beloved owner of Leo’s Toy Store. His store is different because children can play with the toys even if they don’t buy them. Plus, Leo gives candy to the children who visit! The town loves Leo and he loves that his store brings such joy to children and parents alike. But a new landlord puts Leo’s Toy Store in jeopardy. The landlord wants to raise Leo’s rent to an amount he can’t afford.

Can Leo save his store in time for Christmas? Includes memory and reflection questions. BUY NOW