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Saturday Musings – What’s Happened to Christmas?

20191221_christmas The reason for the season....

My wife, Roselyn and I were chatting yesterday, and she mentioned in passing that there seemed to be an effort by some people to remove Christmas out of Christmas. Since "Merry Xmas" didn't appear to catch-on “Merry Christmas” is now being supplant it with “Happy Holidays”.

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Although there isn’t anything inherently wrong with wishing someone a “happy holiday” I do believe that we need to take a step back and consider what is happening here. In order to do this, we need to reflect upon what this season is all about.

Christmas isn’t just about presents, eating copious amounts of food and holidays. At its roots, Christmas is a Christian religious celebration that centres upon the birth of Jesus. It’s about God reaching down to man, not as a judge but out of love by sending his son as the saviour for the world. Whether you believe the above or not is irrelevant to the millions of people that have this conviction in their heart.

If we are to be respectful towards Christians then I believe we need to call this period what it is, Christmas. Similarly, to be respectful to Muslims we should not try and rename Ramadan to something else or the Hindu festival, Diwali, as the “Happy Light Show”.

This would suggest that to make the least offense the politically correct lobby should insist that everyone says, “Merry Christmas”. The question I began to ponder is why don’t they? I could almost guarantee that if we renamed Hannukkah to something else then the Jewish community would be appalled and there would rightly be a voice of protest.

The problem I see with Christmas is not the celebration but rather the reason for the season. It’s the birth of the Christ child that we are celebrating when we sing carols such as; Hark the Herald Angels Sing, Joy to the World and Away in a Manger. Politically correct activists acknowledge that to remove Christmas entirely would be culturally and economically impossible.....so they're just changing it one step at a time. The first of which is to do away with the Christ child.

Why can’t we just accept the fact that this is a special time for some people that goes beyond the festivities and to respect their beliefs? Why is it that this Christian celebration is regarded by some with such distain and yet other religious celebrations are left alone?

 “It’s for freedoms sake that Christ has set us free!” is a quote from the Bible that displays the essence of what Christians around the world at this time are celebrating. What's ironic is that western society has its roots in this Christian freedom ethic and the politically correct lobby is now using the freedom to subtly remove Christ from the Christmas vernacular.

The Bible also says, “For God so loved the world that He gave is one and only son….” When Christians celebrate Christmas, they aren’t just going through the motions of an annual ritual, but rather they are celebrating love and freedom and how we are encouraged to display these noble characteristics towards other people.

When Christ is taken out of Christmas then it can be construed as saying these virtues are not important. Are we trying to eliminate them from our vocabulary one word at a time by starting with Christmas?

When I say to you, “Merry Christmas” I’m not trying to insult you but rather I’m wishing love and freedom upon your life. Likewise, no matter whether you follow the Christian faith or not, saying “Merry Christmas” is reaffirming these virtues and shows a level of respect for another person.

In a similar fashion we should respect people of all faiths during their times of personal celebration. If a Muslim says to me, “May the peace of the prophet be upon you” I don’t get offended. I treat the statement in the postive life affirming manner it was given. What does it cost to show this respect? Nothing really but what does it mean for the person of faith? Everything.

I hope that you read this post in the positive spirit that it is intended. There is too much hate in this world and to remove the symbol of love, Christ, from the season is a sad inditement upon a society that seems to be more focused upon the trappings of the seasons and less upon the reason for the season.

Given that I’m a believer in both freedom and love I would like to wish everyone a very “Merry Christmas” and I look forward to seeing you in the New Year.

Michael
 

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Tuesday, 28 January 2020
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