I confess it all seems a bit silly to me, this whole notion of there being a “war on Christmas” because some institutions are wishing people “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas.” Does it really matter? OK, I admit that I, personally, am annoyed with the signs that declare that Jesus is the Reason for the Season. The season, after all, is winter, which is caused by the fact that the earth rotates on a slightly tilted axis, which takes the Northern Hemisphere a little further from the sun this time of year. Jesus has nothing to do with it. Jesus also has nothing to do with a variety of holidays that take place in this season, such as Chanukah, Yule and Kwanzaa.
However, pagan symbolism such as fir trees, holly and mistletoe aside, Christmas is Christmas, and I have genuine sympathy for the people who are concerned that it is time to put the Christ back into Christmas. It seems a bit bizarre to me to celebrate the birth of a baby born in a stable by indulging in an orgy of consumerism. But how people conduct their celebrations is not the war.
No, the war on Christmas, on the man who declared “blessed are the poor,” is being declared by the folks who are determined to cut billions of dollars from programs that keep families from going hungry. The war on Christmas, on the man who overturned the tables of the moneychangers, is being conducted by financial institutions that expect the public to assume the responsibility for their losses on risky investments, while they reap the rewards. The war on Christmas, on the baby who could only find shelter in a stable, is being conducted by immigration policies that have no room for the notion of hospitality. The war on Christmas — on the man who said we will be judged on how we have fed the poor, given drink to the thirsty, clothed the naked, and visited those who are sick or in prison — is being conducted by those who would describe those in need as “takers” and those who think it’s a good idea to fill prisons with young men so that private corporations can make a profit.
Frankly, I couldn’t care less whether you wish me a merry Christmas, happy holidays or simply a nice day, so long as it’s done in a spirit of civility. Pipe Bach chorales and Handel’s Messiah out into the streets, and put up a Nativity scene on your lawn. Fine by me. Be my guest. But don’t put yourself in the role of Mr. Scrooge, loving the fruits of business so much that you care nothing for the poor, and then step out in the public sphere and declare your horror at the neglect and abuse of Christmas. For that is the real war on Christmas, and it looks like Christmas is losing again.