Merry muddling to all
Lately there’s been much huffing and puffing by putatively Christian radio and TV commentators to the effect that the “secularist elite” are trying to “cancel Christmas” because they “fear … the philosophy of Jesus,” as Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly put it. After his recent lusty layabout with a loofah, O’Reilly really shouldn’t be playing the piety card, but he can’t help himself, apparently.
In any event, it’s much ado about nothing. If the true meaning of Christmas is threatened by anything, it’s the forces of commercialism and acquisitiveness, not folks who wish to be sensitive to the minority of Americans who are not Christian. Besides, most non-Christians don’t especially mind hearing someone wish them “Merry Christmas!” They know to accept it as a well-meant sentiment, not a slight.
Sure, there have been a few occasions when civil libertarians have been overly zealous, just as there are some Christians who try to use the holiday as a proselytizing tool. As most people recognize, both are out of line. Besides, it’s silly to get exercised about an observance that, with its tree and Yule log and Santa Claus tale, has always had a strong element of pagan nature worship at its heart.
On the other hand, why not be sensitive to others’ beliefs during this season? If you know folks who are Jewish, wish them “Happy Hanukah.” If your African-American friends celebrate Kwanzaa, encourage them to enjoy it. If in doubt about someone’s religious practice, “Happy Holidays” works just fine. The point is to feel the joyful, generous spirit of the season and pass it on. Nobody, other than a few whiners trying to convince us that Christmas is on the endangered-holiday list, cares how you do it.
That said, we again wish you Merry Christmas! And Happy Holidays!