Keep Christmas in the holiday

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(EDITOR’S NOTE: The following editorial first ran in 2007, but the questions it raises about the future of Christmas are just as relevant as ever. The Inter Lake reruns it today as a Christmas gift to our readers, and a reminder that a Merry Christmas is the responsibility of all of us.)

“We Wish You A Merry Holiday.”

“I’m Dreaming of a White Holiday.”

“O Holiday Tree.”

Is this what we’ll hear from carolers in years to come?

If Charles Dickens’ “Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come” were to reveal to us the grim reality of Christmas without Christ in it, what would we see? Or are we already there?

Efforts to neuter Christmas are bearing down on America like never before, all in the name of political correctness. We must be “sensitive” of other beliefs. We must be “inclusive.”

Most of this “de-Christmasing” are knee-jerk reactions to isolated complaints. Last year, Sea-Tac Airport dismantled all of its Christmas trees rather than add an 8-foot menorah at the request of a rabbi and open a perceived floodgate of other religions asking to have symbols displayed.

This year, a group of atheists in Menominee, Wis., protested a nativity scene on city property. Officials contemplated removing it, then decided to keep it in place and encourage other faiths to display symbols.

The erosion of Christmas is all around us. A college in Illinois banned Christmas trees from all dormitory dining halls because a single student complained. An elementary school switched the title of its school play to “How the Grinch Stole the Holidays.” Store clerks wish you happy holidays rather than Merry Christmas.

How do we come to terms with this erosion of one of the most important Christian holidays in a country founded on Judeo-Christian beliefs? We are a nation that historically has embraced religious freedom. We are open-hearted, we are accepting. So how, then, does suppressing Christian symbols for a Christian holiday make us “inclusive?”

It doesn’t.

To strip Christmas of its very essence is to deny the foundation upon which America was built. It’s discriminatory.

Part of the problem is the commercialization and secularization of Christmas that’s become more prevalent in recent decades. Everyone wants a piece of Christmas, whether it’s businesses wanting to make money or folks simply wanting to feel warm and fuzzy this time of year. Everyone wants peace on earth, and Christmas seems as good a time as any to wish for it.

But if we cut through all the tinsel, all the presents, all the spiked eggnog, we must realize that Christmas is a religious holiday to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Holy One Christians believe was sent by God to save us from sin. That’s the message of Christmas, and only with that in mind can we truly say “Merry Christmas.”

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