Thanksgiving is fast approaching, setting the scene for the end-of-the-year spree of holidays. And among the traditions you can count on is the ceremonial display of animosity toward purported combatants in a “war on Christmas.”
It was about this time last year when I heard that topic come up on a radio station and decided to call in. But as soon as I politely asked the host to remember that this country was founded on the separation of church and state, I heard a click. Yes, he hung up on me.
I don’t make a habit of calling in to radio shows, but I was trying to understand this perception of waging war on Christmas.
I don’t happen to observe Christmas, but I respect those who do. If I can clearly see it’s a holiday they celebrate, I’m quick to wish people a “Merry Christmas.”
When people wish me a “Merry Christmas,” I wish them the same. I understand that their greeting was meant in kindness — as was mine in return.
Still, I don’t assume people I encounter celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, or any other holiday. I simply wish them “happy holidays.” But, according to that radio show host, I have been doing battle with Christmas.
As I listened, the conversation turned to the school performances at this time of year that some schools call Christmas concerts, and others term winter concerts or something generically similar.
A caller was complaining that her child’s school had scratched “Oh Holy Night” from the performance because the family of a Jewish student objected. I understand parents wanting their children to enjoy their holiday — whatever holiday they celebrate — but isn’t that why you go to church?
The caller angrily said that if parents object to their kids singing a Christmas carol, then they “just shouldn’t be in he choir at all.”
I couldn’t understand this logic. Would this woman really want her child singing a religious song honoring a faith other than hers? Would she believe it was OK for her Christian child to sing a Muslim song praising Allah?
I called in that day to respectfully explain why I disagreed with her. I only got out my half a sentence about church and state before the show host hung up on me.
I completely respect all religions. I respect folks that don’t believe in any religion at all. All I ask, is that others do the same. Take a moment to listen to someone else. Learning new perspectives can be a good thing.
Perhaps then, people won’t be so quick to enlist in the fabricated war on Christmas. Perhaps then, we won’t be so accustomed to shootings on ball fields filled with lawmakers or places of worship filled with people praying or bars filled with our youth who perhaps have not yet learned to hate.
To those who celebrate, I hope this year you have a very Merry Christmas. To those who aren’t Christian, happy holidays. And for those who do not celebrate at all, have a lovely day.
May peace and good health be yours.