Our two-year-old grandson is here. We Tivo’d some episodes of his favorite show, “Thomas and His Friends.” Thomas is a train engine, and his friends are other kinds of heavy machinery and the people who tend them. The “Thomas” franchise started as a series of books by an English pastor, Reverend W. Awdry, and, subsequently became a TV show, line of toys, and all kinds of other merchandise. They are all wholesome and charming.

The British-narrated TV shows have been dubbed into an American accent–which is not necessary and should not be done!–and the voices for some strange reason are those of Alec Baldwin and George Carlin. At any rate, the children’s network Sprout shows the things all the time. The day before yesterday, the episode was entitled something like “Thomas’s Christmas Journey.” But even though the title said “Christmas,” the Carlin voice-over substituted throughout the script “Thanksgiving”! So we had Thomas chugging through the snow in “November” trying to bring the Thanksgiving packages to all the boys and girls.

Changing “Christmas” to “Thanksgiving” didn’t even make sense! And the title lettering still said “Christmas”! But such is today’s Christmas-phobia. (I was told that another American-translated Christmas episode the next day DID say “Christmas.”)

But, hey, what should we expect? Everything about Christmas DOES proclaim Christ. Santa Claus was an author of the Nicene Creed. Giving gifts symbolize the Gospel. The Christmas tree symbolizes the Tree of Life. So those who don’t believe in Christ should indeed feel uncomfortable about celebrating or even mentioning Christmas. I don’t understand why non-Christians would so much as observe the day.

And yet they do, giving and receiving gifts and glorifying God despite themselves.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.