Friday, December 25th, 2009
It only takes a few minutes driving around to see that the “war on Christmas,” or as some might call it the “war for Christmas” is real. There is a large push-back against the secularization of Christmas and the growing pluralistic propensity to universalize the season as “the holidays.”
“It’s OK to wish me a Merry Christmas,” reads one bumper sticker. “Keep Christ in Christmas” reads a church sign. A local tree emporium whose sign once read “Merry XMas” now has “Christmas” taped over it, a likely sign that someone complained.
When my son innocently wished his bus driver “happy holidays,” the driver responded “Merry Christmas to you, too.”
Efforts to make Christmas more Christian is an understandable repercussion of the capitalist exploitation of the holiday, of the replacement of Jesus with Santa Claus as a symbol and the sense that his promise of consumerist eclipses spiritual reflection and acts of kindness. But the separate pushback against pluralism in an overwhelmingly Christian society has troubling undertones.
That’s why, as of today I’m giving up. I’ve got enough guilt. Who needs Pat Buchanan and Mel Gibson mad at me? From now on, it’s Merry Christmas to everyone, even if they look or Asian or Muslim or Jewish. Sorry, Rebbetzin.
We’ve got to know our place in this country, and we can’t keep pretending Chanukah and Christmas are on equal footing.
So Merry Christmas to all my fellow Jews, and don’t forget, Easter is just around the corner.