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Humbug!

Well, it's time for the annual re-fighting of the "War On Christmas." We have on one side, the devout Christians who insist that we all remember "the reason for the season" and "keep Christ in Christmas." On the other side, we have a bunch of anti-Christians and anti-religious people who demand that any concession -- by government, private industry, or any other body -- is tantamount to bringing about a Christian theocracy on America. We have groups and web sites that track "nice" and "naughty" groups who list places who boldly say "Merry Christmas," versus "happy holidays."

And in the middle, a whole bunch of us who find the whole thing more than slightly annoying.

I don't have a dog in this fight. I'm an agnostic, but I'm not hostile to religion. But this argument has been getting on my nerves.

My suggestion: the Christians need to let this one go.

Historically speaking, Christ's connection to December 25 is pretty sketchy. Based on historical events, He was most likely born in the springtime. The shift to December was done to coincide with the winter solstice (give or take a few days), which was already a holiday among a lot of religions.

Further, it's my understanding that Christ's birth -- while miraculous -- was probably the least significant part of His life. Far, far more significant are His life, His Death, and His resurrection. Those, it seems to me, should be far more worthy of commemoration.

Christmas has devolved into an end-of-the-year celebration, a time for fellowship, exchanging of gifts, and starting a week of doing very little until after the new year starts. And, speaking as a secularist, I think that's something we can all use, regardless of religious affiliation (or lack thereof).

The commercialization of Christmas (including the hijacking of the Catholic Saint Nicholas as the unofficial "secular" face of the holiday) has been going on for decades, and -- let's face it -- they've won. The Christmas shopping season has become a key economic factor around the world, and the notion of exchanging gifts on December 25 has far, far transcended the original (well, kinda sorta original) idea of "this is the day we celebrate the birth of the Savior, who was actually born several months later."

It's time to let it go. Christmas' connection to Christianity was pretty tenuous, and it's been stretched too far. It's now the big secular holiday, encompassing a lot of things that aren't that Christian -- buying expensive gifts, "Christmas cheer," and the like. Further, a lot of the pagan Winter Solstice elements -- trees, wreaths, garlands, and the like -- that are descended from the "celebrate nature" theme.

So, folks, have a happy HannaRamaKwanzMas this year. Go buy stuff, kill a tree, and kick back for a while.

Then, come Easter, we can watch the Christians kick the crap out of the Easter Bunny.


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Comments (47)

Actually, Jay, your post sh... (Below threshold)
JSchuler:

Actually, Jay, your post shows that the commercialization forces are losing. After all, if Christmas was not a major holiday in Christianity (a point on which you are correct), the fact that it has become a major holiday in Christianity shows that those arguing the "Keep Christ in Christmas" line have been quite effective.

Now Easter, on the other hand, well, we all know the Easter bunny is the one who's going to be kicking ass.

Saw this at AT today, there... (Below threshold)
Maddox:

Saw this at AT today, there are many who are fighting the good fight. Inspiring!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXh7JR9oKVE&feature=related


It's The Resurrection that ... (Below threshold)
twolaneflash:

It's The Resurrection that is mankind's only hope for a happy eternity. Without it, the virgin birth and all the miracles are but parlor tricks, and the perfection of the law of love written on the human heart but a love song. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is unique among the faiths of man, giving us the promise and hope that the same spiritual rebirth from sin may be ours. Faith is not the result of knowing; it is the result of choosing.

Well, the connection betwee... (Below threshold)
Joel:

Well, the connection between Christmas and Christianity is actually pretty integral. Nobody really thinks Jesus was born on December 25; that's just when the feast day falls on the calendar. The event it celebrates is a vital Christian tenet.

However, I'm more or less with you on this. Christmas is a Christian holiday that has taken root in the secular culture. There's no need to erase all secularism from it, any more than it's necessary to expunge all religious reference. Unfortunately, even secular references can set the human toothaches in the no-god-squad to mouth-foaming. Can't we just agree that the pre-eminent religion in our society has spawned a celebration that can be enjoyed from within or without?

Actually, December 25 is li... (Below threshold)

Actually, December 25 is likely the date when the Magi arrived bearing gifts for the Christ child, having followed the Star to find Him. Jesus was probably a toddler by then. Further, His birth is indeed significant and miraculous, in that it fulfilled prophecies told hundreds of years before. Indeed, the prophecy of Christ goes all the way back to the third chapter of Genesis, but His birth was foretold in great detail many times over.

(If you came across a book that you know was written hundreds of years ago, and in it was a description of when, where and how you would be born and what you would do in your life - wouldn't you be fairly likely to accept as truth the rest of what was written in that book?)

The coming of God, in the form of a human, to earth, to live among man, is in no way insignificant. I don't mean to belittle or demean your intelligence, but for those of us who have accepted Christ as our Savior, we have a much deeper understanding of this event - and how immense, unrelenting and powerful God's love for us truly is. Christ's birth is God's promise to us, a gift given in love, grace and mercy to a people completely undeserving. Christ life is God's message to us, so that we may understand better what God wants of us. Christ's death is the fulfillment of His promise to us of life eternal in His Kingdom.

Myself, I do enjoy the secular celebration elements of Christmas - the music, decorations, lights, etc. Some Christians shun that part, some going so far as to not have any celebration of the day at all. But at the root of the reason for the holiday is the birth of Christ.

It is not true that early Christians "took over" a pagan holiday and attached the birth of Christ. The pagan holiday occurred weeks earlier, for the coming of the winter solstice. It was well over and done by Dec. 25. Quite the opposite, non-Christians pushed the pagan themes into the Christian celebration.

I'm perfectly OK with there being no Christmas decor at the courthouse - a place where man's law prevails and those who break it gather. I'd rather see it at the church, where those who gather there have the true meaning of Christmas in their hearts. But the city park where they had a May Day celebration last spring, or a haunted forest at Halloween, I would expect they would allow another community group to set up and display a Nativity there as well.

Should some clerk at a store offer me a "Happy Holidays" greeting, in return, I say, "Merry Christmas and may God bless you and yours," and hope the light of Christ is shining through me.

Funny I should read this ri... (Below threshold)
Meiji_man:

Funny I should read this right before I take off to a Christmas performance where we've been told we can't perform any "Christian Music" because it's at a City Sponsored site.

To bad for them they scheduled a Irish-Catholic Choral group, that's all the Christmas music we know how to sing...

what are they going to do, pull us off the stage?

The reality of the issue is... (Below threshold)
jim m:

The reality of the issue is that it does not matter one iota what the origin of the holiday is. Do the secularists demand an answer from the muslims on the basis for ramadan? of course not.

The fact is that Christmas is a holiday with Christian origins (whether you believe those origins are 200 years old or 2000 they are still there). For anyone to demand that we celebrate the holiday while excising all mention of Christmas itself is bizarre and wrong headed. It is simple anti-Christianism. There is no other excuse or explanation.

I'm sick and tired of bigots telling me how I can address people and how I can talk, what kind of letters I can send, what kind of songs I can sing or listen to and what kinds of holiday decorations are acceptable.

The unChristian part of me says that these people can all go to hell, but then that is exactly where they are going. When I consider that fact I am not so angry with them as much as I pity them and their future.

"My suggestion: the Christi... (Below threshold)
yttik:

"My suggestion: the Christians need to let this one go."

Oh no they shouldn't!! And neither should agnostics. Some people may feel as if Christianity is being attacked, but I think there is also a secular argument to be had. The issue is that America and Americans have created a tradition from merging ideas from several different cultures and beliefs. We have taken the lights from Candlemas, the Christmas trees from the Pagans, Santa from Europe, and yes Christians have woven Christ's birthday in there too, but the point is, Christmas, the way we do Christmas in America, is a tradition, one of the things our country's culture has created. There is something in it for everybody or nothing in it at all, if you prefer. It is your choice. But it is our choice, too.

Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, these are American holidays, they are a part of our culture and a part of our country. When people attack them, they are attacking America. If it offends people to watch massive amounts of Americans celebrate their traditions, then those people should get the hell out.

Except, Jim, that no one is... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Except, Jim, that no one is "demanding we celebrate the holiday while excising all mention of Christmas." No one is forbidding you from wishing others a Merry Christmas, or otherwise telling you how you may address people, how you can talk, what kind of letters you can send (where do you GET this stuff?), what kind of songs you can sing or listen to or what kind of holiday decorations are acceptable.

There are indeed some zealots who insist on a total separation of any religious elements from any tax-supported venues. That's where you get the "No religious carols in the school concert" crap. So what? Can't you sing religious carols in church or at home, listen to religious music on TV or in your car? Some people insist on no manger scenes in the courthouse square. So what? There are manger scenes in front of practically every church in the country. No one is forbidding them, or can forbid them.

Some department stores encourage their employees to say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas. So what? Don't they start the Christmas shopping season right after Halloween? Doesn't Happy Holidays include Thanksgiving, Hannukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Year's? What's wrong with including everybody, or at least including more people?

Some companies are having "Holiday Celebrations" instead of "Christmas Parties." So what? Do those companies not have the right to call their parties anything they want to call them, in an attempt to include ALL their employees? After all, "Happy Holidays" doesn't EXCLUDE anyone, but "Merry Christmas" does. Does your company calling it's holiday party something other than a "Christmas Party" prevent you from having your own Christmas party at your house or in your neighborhood, with whatever friends and family YOU choose to invite?

This "War on Christmas" crap is simply some conservatives attempting to baselessly paint themselves as victims, when nothing could be further from the truth.

"My suggestion: the Christi... (Below threshold)
GaryL:

"My suggestion: the Christians need to let this one go."

Why is it that it's Christians that are always expected to "let it go" or "get over it" or name your favorite phraseology? Or to silently let the namesake of their belief be eliminated? Yet, any denigration or "removal" of the name of Mohammed cannot be countenanced.

Excuse me, but nativities and the like are not commercial displays of the pagan Winter Solstice... it is part of human history. This is all part of a carefully-crafted historical revisionism to eliminate all vestiges of Christian thought from the human experience.

I'm sick and tired of the Christ of Christmas being "removed" from all discourse. Fortunately, the Christ of Christmas does not need me nor anyone else to defend Him. In the end, He will have the last say, because...

"For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." -- Philippians 2:9-11

So, Christian victims, who ... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

So, Christian victims, who has forbidden you from celebrating the holiday as you see fit?

Are you forbidden from uttering the phrase "Merry Christmas" in any store where you shop, any restaurant where you dine, or any public place at all?

Did government agents confiscate your "Johnny Mathis Sings the Sacred Songs of Christmas" CD?

Are there NO Nativity Scenes in your community? If not, why not? Are they forbidden by law? (Not just not staged on public property, but prohibited ANYWHERE.)

Does your boss forbid you to say Merry Christmas to your fellow employees? Ever get written up for it? Know anyone who has?

What form has this imaginary War on Christmas taken in your own life?

Jay,You're an AGNO... (Below threshold)
Shawn:

Jay,

You're an AGNOSTIC? The hell you say!!

I'd take issue with your people caught in the "middle" description.

Just my opinion, but, I would think that a great deal of those in the middle do believe the birth of Christ to be the reason it exists in the first place. While they may not be bible-thumping worshipers hell bent on the precision of the history, they believe it is a celebration based on Christ's birth, while accepting the holiday has become just another Hallmark moment, and celebrate it as such.

Honestly, who really knows the precise day, time, and barometric pressure when it happened.

No matter.

It is the date that Christians believe it to have happened.

That's just called faith.

Hell, the Fourth of July is a purely secular holiday about the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

It's become just a nice summer day to grill burgers and blow things up.

Does that negate the real reason for its importance, even though signings of the document occured for years afterward?

"Christmas' connection to Christianity was pretty tenuous, and it's been stretched too far."

While I agree with the last part, the first part is a bit odd.

Christmas isn't merely connected to Christianity: It exists because of it, in whatever form it has taken.

-Shawn


"My suggestion: the Christi... (Below threshold)
John F Not Kerry:

"My suggestion: the Christians need to let this one go."

Great. Then we we should call it something other than Christmas, and not have a mandatory government holiday. After all, it has no meaning if you take Christ out, so why take the day off? I'm sure that would go over well.

Bruce,I'm not goin... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Bruce,

I'm not going to bother compiling the list of occasions where people have been told not to use the greeting "Merry Christmas" to customers, or the times that Christmas has been removed from the government or corporate lexicon for fear of offending some undefined "someone". Those incidents are simply too numerous to count. It isn't so much a war on Christmas as it is a parade of cowardice in the face of secularist antagonism.

The threats of law suits to remove creche scenes or other religious symbols are too numerous too. Nobody worries about separation of islam and state. We can have an eid dinner in the White House an no one bats an eye, yet every year we get protest about a prayer breakfast.

You can claim that there is no effort to remove Christianity from Christmas but you would be wrong. I'm not claiming some sinister conspiracy, but I do see the far left loons coming out to protest every time anything overtly Christian surfaces.

"My suggestion: the Christi... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"My suggestion: the Christians need to let this one go."

Why?

"Far, far more significant are His life, His Death, and His resurrection. Those, it seems to me, should be far more worthy of commemoration."

They are commemorated, and are also 'under attack'.

Here's a thought: For those urging the 'embrace of diversity', how about EMBRACING A CHRISTIAN?

Christmas is huge in Japan,... (Below threshold)
Paul Hooson:

Christmas is huge in Japan, which is only 1% Christian. Indeed, Jay is correct that Christmas is not a legitimate Christian holiday, and is merely a commercial event. But, that does have good consequences for the economy. And the holiday helps to encourage more charity to others as well.

There are indeed some ze... (Below threshold)
jim m:

There are indeed some zealots who insist on a total separation of any religious elements from any tax-supported venues. That's where you get the "No religious carols in the school concert" crap. So what?

The problem is that I have a Constitutionally guaranteed freedom of religious expression. The state does not have to support my expression, but it cannot restrict it either. That expression has the same value as any non-religious expression. If you want to restrict religion from any tax-supported venue then you must also restrict other speech as well (or certainly, once we do restrict religious speech there, other restrictions are sure to follow).

It's a freedom of religion and not from as many people believe.

The secular religion of tolerance is anything but tolerant when it comes to Christian religious expression. It has been years now that we have heard of restrictions by liberal educators on students expressing their faith. We hear that Christmas songs with religious themes cannot be sung, yet they will teach their students how to face Mecca when praying to allah and will teach them muslim prayers and about the importance of the haj.

Mark me as just tired of the crap from the far left (note that here I actually distinguish the regular left from the far left lunatics on this issue) and their rabid intolerance of the cultural roots of our society.

Jay,To be complete... (Below threshold)
Rose Hughes:

Jay,

To be completely honest, I usually read Wizbang largely to read your posts. I do not always agree with your result, but admire the thought process.

There is just one issue that you cover that I find your response .... less than forthcoming, shall we say. In two issues involving Christians that you repeatedly come back to again and again, your response follows the same pattern:

*You state you have "no dog in the fight" (so to speak).

*You either ignore the Christian's viewpoint completely or so badly mischaracterize it to make it incoherent - but manage to do a credible review of the other side's viewpoint.

*Then, based on your misstatement of the Christian's position, you tell the Christians to abandon their position ... or "get over it" in your words.

If you truly don't care, it would seem that you would make a better attempt to correctly state the positions of both groups before judging who was in error.

Do I think that this means you hate Christians? No, of course not. I just find it odd given your care to "get it right" on other issues.

May this holiday find you and yours healthy and happy.

"Christmas is not a legi... (Below threshold)
jim m:

"Christmas is not a legitimate Christian holiday"

So because a non-Christian culture celebrate the holiday does not mean that it is non-Christian in majority Christian nations. I would wager they celebrate it as something they have adopted from American culture. Would you also argue that because it is celebrated in Japan that Christmas is essentially non-American in the way we celebrate it? The fact of the matter is that in other countries it has more religious significance and less commercial.

"And the holiday helps to encourage more charity to others as well. "

Ironic that it is the Christians who lead the way in charitable giving. Secularists are notoriously poor at giving their money to charity. Look at the wealthy democrats in government and many of them give far less money than people earning only a fraction of their income.

So while you argue that Christmas encourages people to give to charity it is the Christian foundation of that holiday which is the origin of that giving. SO at one time you are saying that the Christian origins are unimportant and no longer applicable yet you are simultaneously citing behavior that is a direct consequence of hat origin.

Sorry, your arguments are deeply flawed.

Actually, as a devout Chris... (Below threshold)

Actually, as a devout Christian, all I want is to be able to say Merry Christmas, have a cross on my property if I so desire, and, if the majority of people in my community want it, a nativity scene in the public park without people who aren't Christians getting their knickers in a twist about it. I don't think a nativity scene means the local city hall has become a theocracy. I'm just tired of people yelling Tolerance for everybody else except Christians. Everybody is free to make the holiday what they wish it to be, if you want to have a pagan Winter Solstice ceremony, go ahead. The whole Christmas "war" thing got started when a few non-Christians decided they couldn't stomach ANY public display of Christianity and tried their best to totally eliminate the Christian celebration of the season. It really doesn't matter that much if Christ was born in December or not, Christians should have the right to celebrate at that time if they so wish. If anybody needs to give it a rest it's the non-Christians. Just let people celebrate it in the way they prefer. I may not agree with them but I wouldn't try to get their public celebration banned unless it was illegal, or extremely gross and sadistic.

and, if the majority of ... (Below threshold)
jim m:

and, if the majority of people in my community want it, a nativity scene in the public park without people who aren't Christians getting their knickers in a twist about it.

Actually, even if it's a minority they have the right to use public property for a display if at any time of the year anyone else is allowed to have a display of any sort at all. The constitution was created to protect the minority. People don't get so upset about a menorah at Hanukkah and I can't think of anywhere that Jews make a clear majority of the population in the US.

Additionally, I like how people who don't even believe that Christ existed in the first place get all twisted up about whether or not he was born at he Christmas season. Really, they are worse than any evangelist in their fervor to convert everyone to their non-belief.

As for the

It is interesting that Chri... (Below threshold)

It is interesting that Christmas and New Years were attempts by the church to co-opt the old Roman holidays of Satunalia and calendaria. Pope Gregory made them Christmas a holiday when he redid the calendar and changed New Years back to January 1 in order to settle the fight between the pagans and the Christians about when the New Year began. He also did that in order to get the pagans to be willing to convert without having to give up their celebrations. In fact the moder secular celebration of Christmas is a lot more like the original version than the religious description. It is just a lot more moral than the orgies that originally took place (find out what originally happened "under the mistletoe - even in Victorian times).

Further, it's ... (Below threshold)
Rick:
Further, it's my understanding that Christ's birth -- while miraculous -- was probably the least significant part of His life.

I'm not thinking so...

Christ's birth represents the incarnation, God becoming man while still fully God, God coming as an infant dependent on others for his sustenance and setting into motion that which eventually brings redemption of mankind, God humbly reaching out in love to humanity by becoming human, God in essence showing His character...

Least significant...

I just can't buy into that premise...

Rose, I'm very much pro-Chr... (Below threshold)

Rose, I'm very much pro-Christian. I'm also pro-Jew. I'm just neither.

I'm not making this argument philosophically -- I'm making it tactically. I don't have a problem with public Nativity scenes and the like, personally, but the fighting over "who says 'happy holidays' vs. 'Merry Christmas'" irritates me no end.

Let's just get over it.

J.

Then understand Jay that al... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Then understand Jay that all we are asking for is to be allowed to say "Merry Christmas" and for the arrogant leftists to show us that amazing tolerance that they keep demanding from everyone else. All we are asking for is the same level of tolerance that is demanded for muslims, gays, etc.

But don't worry. We know that we won't ever get that from the left.

Rick, you're more educated ... (Below threshold)

Rick, you're more educated on this, but in the big picture, how would you rank the significance of Christ's birth, life, death, and resurrection? The last three were the ones that shaped history -- the way He lived his life, the way He died for our sins, and how He rose from the dead.

I'm not trying to downplay Christ's birth and the circumstances thereof, but that wasn't the thing that shaped the world as it is today.

J.

jim m, I'm not against that... (Below threshold)

jim m, I'm not against that. Say what you like. But I saw a news story today that this group of pro-Christmas folks were assembling lists of "nice" and "naughty" businesses based on which THEY say -- or, rather, have their employees say. It's this kind of pushback that has me annoyed. People who make a point of answering a "happy holidays" with a forceful "MERRY CHRISTMAS" and take offense when it isn't reciprocated.

My employer would be on the "naughty" list. I don't care either way. But the fighting is asinine.

And it pains me to say that Hooson raises a good datum -- how utterly un-Christian Japan has embraced the holiday apart from its Christian elements. It's outgrown its Christian origins, and I think that's a good thing.

J.

I think you need to underst... (Below threshold)
jim m:

I think you need to understand the Japan celebration of Christmas as a separate issue from the celebration in the US. I would guess that in Japan it is something which has been adopted in emulation of western and US affluence.

But in the US many people still go to church on Christmas eve. Many still celebrate the religious side of Christmas. To dismiss that out of hand as you seem to be doing is to effectively nullify a large segment of the culture.

So what if Japan celebrates Christmas? What exactly does that signify here? Canada celebrates a Thanksgiving in November too. What relevance does that have to our celebration? None. Just because Christmas is almost exclusively a secular event in Shinto Japan means nothing with regard to the millions upon millions of Christians who celebrate it in the US.

I think it is extremely arrogant to assume that because you can find people who celebrate Christmas in a secular fashion that it has lost all religious significance and that those who believe in that religious significance should just STFU about it.

Which regardless of how you try to soft peddle it is how you are ultimately coming off.

Rose, I'm very muc... (Below threshold)
Rose Hughes:
Rose, I'm very much pro-Christian. I'm also pro-Jew. I'm just neither.

I'm not making this argument philosophically -- I'm making it tactically. I don't have a problem with public Nativity scenes and the like, personally, but the fighting over "who says 'happy holidays' vs. 'Merry Christmas'" irritates me no end.

Let's just get over it.

J.

"Tactically" is where your argument fails. When you mistate and/or ignore one of two position but consistently call on the position that you have mistated and/or ignored to "get over it", then it is less effective than if you had actually taken a philosophical stand based on fact.

Personally, I don't care if you take any position at all on this or any any religous issue.

What I wouldn't do were I you is agree with Hoosen on this issue. Hoosen's claim that "Christmas is not a legitimate Christian holiday" is not only incorrect but bordering on religous intolerance.

Hoosen's claim that "Chr... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Hoosen's claim that "Christmas is not a legitimate Christian holiday" is not only incorrect but bordering on religous intolerance.

Oh, I would say that it goes beyond bordering.

When you make the claim that because non-believers also join in the celebration of a religious holiday, that said holiday is no longer legitimate and the believers no longer have any claim as to how that holiday is celebrated and, as some do, say that the religious recognition of that holiday is not out of order and should be suppressed, you have gone far beyond intolerance and straight into bigotry.


The claim is on its face a bigoted and aggressively antagonistic and discriminatory statement. Why is it illegitimate? Because non-believers celebrate it too? How exactly does that delegitimize the holiday for believers?

Do non-Americans celebrate Independence day? Is that therefore a non-legitimate holiday for Americans?

The only explanation for holding such a position is open bigotry against those who you would marginalize. There is none other.

I would challenge Mr Hoosen and Jay Tea to defend their statement. Tell us why it is not legitimate because other people choose to celebrate it for other reasons. Tell us why Christians should be restricted from celebrating it openly. Tell us why we should shut up and take it.

Tell us why you aren't bigots.

It is just not possible to ... (Below threshold)
Jim Addison:

It is just not possible to separate Christ's birth from his life, death, and Resurrection at all, much less for such a pointless exercise as attempting to order their importance. If Christ was not born as prophesied and recorded, as God reborn as Son of Man, the rest loses its significance.

All these events are essential elements of the whole. They cannot be severed from it or from each other, period.

No one is to be forced to accept this belief, but neither is anyone entitled to make up their own version by playing "mix-'n'-match theology."

Merry Christmas to all!

Jay, Read... (Below threshold)
Edward A. Schuster:


Jay,

Reading between the lines of your blog, I

beleave you to be a closet Christian. Now you

just have to admit it yo yourself.

For those arguing the Chris... (Below threshold)
James H:

For those arguing the Christian side of Christmas, here's another perspective. Kind of ironic, isn't it?

For those arguing ... (Below threshold)
Rose Hughes:
For those arguing the Christian side of Christmas, here's another perspective. Kind of ironic, isn't it?

Thank you, James H. for providing an example of what I have been saying.

Since I suspect you don't "get" why it supports my point, I do find your post quite ironic.

I think Wizbang should cele... (Below threshold)
Eric:

I think Wizbang should celebrate Festivus. Look at the traditions of Festivus. What could be more appropriate than the traditional airing of grievances on a blog? I would pay money to see the traditional feats of strength between Jay Tea and Lee-who-shall-not-be-named.

Though if it were to happen it would be a Festivus Miracle.

Rose:No need to be... (Below threshold)
James H:

Rose:

No need to be condescending.

James H,We get tha... (Below threshold)
jim m:

James H,

We get that the nature of the celebrations have changed. Actually,if you read your link it is clear that much of the laws were explicitly anti-Catholic.

Exactly what about that means that Christmas is not a Christian holiday?

JT you are conflating two s... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

JT you are conflating two seperate things.

Celebrating the birth of the Son of God who will 33 years later give his life up in sacrifice for the sins of all mankind so we can go directly to God with our prayers, etc. That is huge. Very huge. You dismiss it too easily.

I agree the Christmas holiday has been commercialized to the point of my wife and I not participating in the expected giving of gifts to everyone we know. It is out of hand.

I personnaly think Christmas and the entire season is for children who learn to not only receive, but give. That is taught through songs and pageants but our great secular troublemakers think it would be unfair to teach kids the value of giving. ww

Jim M:I wasn't com... (Below threshold)
James H:

Jim M:

I wasn't commenting on the identity of Christmas as a Christmas holiday, just on the irony of how attitudes evolved. Where once certain religious folks fought the celebration of Christmas, now religious folks defend it strongly. Perhaps it lacks the complete delicious twist that true irony requires, but it's at least moderate irony, medium starch.

Now if we really want to get into it, I would argue that "Christmas" itself is not entirely a Christian holiday, but rather a syncretic year-end festival that incorporates both Christian and pagan elements, and over the past centuries in America has taken on a distinctly secular character.

I see no reason why any of this should detract from any person's celebration of the holiday season in any way he sees fit. It serves many purposes for many different people. So let it be.

I find myself increasingly annoyed with the annual battle over Christmas, etc., etc. I suppose on a technical level, local governments should not set up nativity scenes and so forth, but there's a certain grinchiness inherent in brandishing lawsuits to shut them down ... not to mention that when it comes to Establishment Clause issues, there are far bigger fish to fry.

By contrast, I think there's a certain grinchiness on the Christians who sanctimoniously rail against people who say "Happy Holidays" in lieu of "Merry Christmas" or who raise a hue and cry every time somebody substitutes a snowman for Santa.

I agree that there are othe... (Below threshold)
jim m:

I agree that there are other elements involved in the Christmas celebration, however that does not in any way amount to it no longer being a Christian holiday. The numerous attempts to suppress Christian celebration of the holiday are bigoted and wrong.

The attempts here to dismiss the Christian origins of the holiday are also misinformed at the very least.

Jay, thanks for the interes... (Below threshold)
Big Mo:

Jay, thanks for the interesting post and discussion.

When you say Christ's birth isn't as important as His death and resurrection, you're just plain wrong.

His birth is just as significant because "The Word (that is, Jesus) became flesh." It was a tremendous event in its own right because it fulfilled thousands of years of prophesy that God would send us the savior.

Look at it this way: His birth in Bethlehem was the beginning of His journey to Cavalry. Redemption through grace alone by faith alone in Christ alone began when Christ entered the world -- not when He was murdered and rose from the dead. Even more precise, the journey began right after the fall of mankind.

Regardless of your proclaimed agnosticism, Christ's birth cannot be subordinated to His death and resurrection.

As to Christmas Dec. 25, no mature Christian believes that Christ was born on that day. Earlier Christians simply took over, if you will, a pagan holiday.

Agnostic:a person wh... (Below threshold)
GaryL:

Agnostic:
a person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God or of anything beyond material phenomena; a person who claims neither faith nor disbelief in God.

ORIGIN mid 19th cent.: from a- 1 [not] + gnostic .


Gnostic:
of or relating to knowledge

So agnostic = not gnostic. In other words, striping God from the equation, it is someone who is without knowledge. Part of the word root we also use in the word ignorant and its various forms. In my computer work, we often refer to a system or program as being agnostic (without knowledge of) to another system or state.

I have always loved how elites, with their nose up in the air, proudly proclaim with an air of superiority, "I am an agnostic."

Somehow, knowing the true meanings behind the original word origins, I'm not so sure I would want to wear the "agnostic" label as my claim to fame.

Gary:I have met Ja... (Below threshold)
James H:

Gary:

I have met Jay Tea. He is elite in no way, shape, or form.

I also think religious agnostics are philosophical cowards, honestly. They're unwilling to examine one side's case and evaluate it, but would rather revel in the wisdom inherent in their neutrality.

They don't get the point of Solomon and the baby. The point wasn't to split the baby in half. The point was to force a decision.

Rose:No need ... (Below threshold)
Rose Hughes:
Rose:

No need to be condescending.

James H,

I stand corrected. You did get my point.

There is, indeed, no reason to be condescending.

Like telling a group of people that they need to "get over it" because you have evaluated their beliefs (which you admit you are not THAT learned about) and have decided that they are not that important... That you have decided their beliefs are not "legitimate" because people who live thousands of miles away like the trappings of the celebration... Or that it is relevant today that people who lived hundreds of years ago didn't agree .....

As I said earlier, "tactically" is where I believe his argument fails.

I will apologize for not being clearer in my earlier post, however.


Could not state the case fo... (Below threshold)

Could not state the case for Christmas any better than John Bennett has:

http://townhall.com/columnists/JohnBennett/2010/12/12/score_one_for_judeo-christian_culture/page/full/

Those of us who celebrate Christmas are told that we must rip the very core of this season out, and replace it with a phony, soulless thing called "Holiday" or "Winter." This is dishonest because nobody celebrates winter. "Holiday" is a shallow term to describe Christmas; the term abuses language to impose a false meaning on a reality that most of us cherish.

As they say, read the whole thing ...

Does anyone besides me find... (Below threshold)
Rich:

Does anyone besides me find the argument that "Happy Holidays" is better than "Merry Christmas" because it's more "inclusive" pretty weak? If friends invite me over to celebrate their daughter's birthday, do I get outraged? No, I am usually happy about being asked to participate in such celebrations and will wish the girl a "Happy Birthday".

Everyone is welcome to celebrate Christ's birth. If they choose to do in in a non-religious way (Santa Claus), then that's fine with us. This is a wonderful time of year where most get together with loved ones and sing Christmas carols. Does anyone know any other religious holiday that has so many wonderful songs associated with it? Many written and performed by non-Christians! And all are about love, joy, and giving. If anyone feels left out, it's because they choose to be.

James H:Having nev... (Below threshold)
GaryL:

James H:

Having never met Jay, I will have to take your word for it on being elitist.

You are correct on it being philosophical cowardice... it is a "convenient" cowardice.




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