It’s less than a week until the big day. You know, the day when children gleefully shake mom and dad awake at four in the morning in order to run downstairs and marvel at their bounty. The day when people around the nation will gather in front of the fireplace to exchange gifts, drink eggnog, and sing carols. That’s right, for all of you procrastinators who have yet to begin shopping, Christmas is less than a week away.
I’ve had my fill of Christmas media coverage early this year and not because the store in which I work has insisted upon playing Christmas music around the clock since late November. No, the media coverage that has generously supplied me with enough Christmas to last until next December has to do with (what else?) our charismatic elected leaders up in Washington; one in particular, Republican Rep. Jo Ann Davis of Gloucester. Rep. Davis, over the past few days, has introduced and passed a resolution in the House of Representatives “expressing support for the symbols and traditions of Christmas.”
Now Davis may have a point here. It does seem like our country becomes more and more politically correct everyday, and the misuse of a word, even in casual conversation, is enough to start a severe outrage. However, I do not see any merit in the idea that conservatives have been touting this holiday season: that Christmas is under siege. Additionally, it does not seem correct that our government should waste its time and go on record supporting one religious holiday over another. No matter how secular Christmas has become, it is still a Christian holiday celebrating the birth of Christ.
Rep. Davis pointed out the fact that many stores no longer use the word Christmas in their advertising campaigns, and that many retailers wish customers “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas,” as evidence of a war on the holiday. Frankly, I am more outraged that Rep. Davis is wasting our time on this resolution than I am as a Christian that retailers will not wish me a “Merry Christmas.” For goodness sake, this season has more than one holiday, and using the plural phrase simply includes wishes for a good new year (another major holiday) along with wishes for any number of other holidays, including, but not limited to, Christmas.
The war on Christmas, similar to the war on terror, is based on a few shaky weapons of mass destruction. What better way to wage a war on Christmas than to call the break that children get from school around this time “Winter Break” instead of “Christmas Break”? Additionally, if children of all faiths are not allowed to sing Christmas carols in public schools or to have a “Christmas party” at the end of the year instead of a “holiday party”, how in the world are we going to be able to save Christmas from certain disaster?
It seems to me that Rep. Davis and the other supporters of this measure (and there were a lot, it passed solidly through the House) are overreacting to the inclusive nature of our society. It is not a crime to sing Christmas carols in school, but it does leave those children who are not Christian out of the loop. Additionally, calling a school holiday “Winter Break” instead of “Christmas Break” does not undermine the importance of the holiday, rather it is inclusive to those who do not celebrate at this time of year or who celebrate other holidays. Really, is it too much to ask that little Jewish boys and girls not be made to support something that they do not and cannot celebrate?
I think that those who believe in this war on Christmas should turn to our Christian head of state, President George W. Bush, to see where he stands on the matter. In his holiday greeting cards this year, Bush signed “with best wishes for a holiday season of hope and happiness.” He may not have used the word Christmas in his cards, but I don’t think that Bush will be renouncing the holiday any time soon. So what’s the big problem, Rep. Davis?