I briefly mentioned the “Happy Holidays” people and the “Merry Christmas” people yesterday. And I’ve pretty much expanded on them all that I intend to do, except for one detail: It’s important to remember to take what the media says, or what you see on TV, or what you read in your email, with a grain of salt. And in today’s climate, perhaps with an entire salt shaker.
Why do I say this? Because with the immediacy of the internet and the 24-hour news cycle, one local occurrence can get national coverage in an instant. And as we have seen often enough, there are plenty of people who pull stupid stunts because of the news cycle; they are reaching for their 15 minutes of fame. So, please, neither give them the satisfaction of riling you, nor give yourself an ulcer over the stuff you hear on TV; there’s a good chance it’s been blown way out of proportion.
The people who mostly wail over the de-Christ-ing of Christmas are Christians, naturally. And I certainly respect their right to feel this way, act this way, shop this way, etc. I just wish they wouldn't spill it on me so often. And I get a bit confused sometimes, because I belong to a conservative Protestant denomination that for the first 18 years of my life told me that Christmas is not a Christian holiday.
Then I turned 18 and all heaven broke loose. It would seem that we have changed our collective mind. Sorta. We don’t have Christmas Eve services or celebrate Advent, but by golly, we bake things and make our contribution to the economy. I read an article this time last year—and I’ve tried to find it, but have not had any luck thus far—that said that early in the 20th century, Christians were horrified as each successive year Christmas became more and more a holiday of materialism and gift-giving, and less and less a holiday of focusing on Jesus. So much so, in fact, that many of them stopped celebrating the holiday altogether, rather that endorse such behaviour in the name of Jesus. A lesson for us all, perhaps.