Today, I saw a garish bumper sticker that said, "Merry Christmas - and it is Christmas." Uh, yeah, right. I couldn't help catching the spirit of love, peace and goodwill that went along with that sincere greeting.
Then there's the bumper sticker that self-righteously declared, "I Saved Christmas." Really? Had it been kidnapped? Was it Missing in Action? Does anyone honestly believe that Christmas is in danger of disappearing from the American landscape? If it were, does anyone seriously think that displaying a bumper sticker and shoving one's holiday down other people's throats would be all that would be required to save the faith and make one a hero (or, perhaps better yet, a martyr)?
To top it all off, a few days ago at work, a donor wished me a blessed holiday. When I responded, "Happy Holidays to you, too" he sternly admonished that I was supposed to say, "Merry Christmas," because The Salvation Army is a Christian organization. Well, gee whiz. Next time, just give me a script and I'll make sure I parrot my lines just right.
My message to all the morons who believe there is a War on Christmas is this:
No one is attacking Christmas. No one wants to remove it from the calendar or prevent anyone from celebrating it. People of all faiths (and even no faith) love this time of year. It's a time when people enjoy friends, family, feasts, candles, church services, carols.... What's so bad about all that? Nothing that I can see. When I was growing up in eastern PA, I was taught that it was simply good manners to wish people I didn't know Happy Holidays or Season's Greetings, rather than just assuming that everyone celebrated the same way I did. Is it really so difficult for Christians to show a little bit of courtesy and respect to people who don't share their culture and traditions? Most people don't really care how they're greeted and they generally respond in kind to whatever greeting is extended, in a spirit of goodwill and cheer.
Except for Christians.
Oh, no! Every year, it seems that more and more Christians are insisting that everybody must celebrate this season exactly as they do, regardless of whether such practices are culturally or spiritually relevant to the people being hounded and reprimanded. Christians who behave this way fail to realize that their attitudes and behaviors cheapen the holiday and deprive it of the meaning it's supposed to hold. Do Christians really want people to go through the motions and say the mantras of celebrating Christmas without holding the beliefs that go along with the holiday? Probably not, but it's hard to tell by the way some militant morons are acting about stupid, superficial stuff like greetings. I've gotten to the point where I just say, "Have a nice day." I can't really go wrong with that one. Yep. I've given up. I don't know what to say to whom anymore, so I've just dispensed with the holiday cheer altogether and I'm sticking with my routine courtesies. In a way, that's really truer to the spirit of the season anyway, as I should be polite all the time, not just for a few special days in December. I'm one Christmas Warrior who's lost the will to fight a trivial war. One thing I regret is this: if there is a War on Christmas, it's being waged by misguided Christians who are destroying, rather than honoring, the holiday. That's something that all Christians should think about before engaging in any more Christmas battles.