Only a lack of Christmas in the narrow minds and narrower hearts of men.
Christmas is perhaps the most misunderstood and misrepresented holiday in the entire panoply of top-tier American Holidays (nobody seems to know what the hell Cinco Di Mayo is all about either, but that’s another blog…).
Maybe it started out as Christians commemorating the birth of their messiah. But we are way past that now, because, just like Country music, if you want it to go “mainstream” then you gotta market to the masses (and I’m not talking about Midnight Masses…). The early Christians understood that. Basically, to enlarge their numbers and broaden their influence, Christians absorbed, Borg-like, the celebratory traditions of those that they wanted to “convert” to Christianity. So, to keep all the new recruits placated, you align your celebration with the Winter Solstice and Saturnalia ( a Roman week-long time of lawlessness and good-natured carnage that took place in late December ), You borrow a tree from the Druids, you take some mistletoe from Norse mythology. How about a wreath from the Roman God Apollo, bring in Nicholas, stage left. He was taken from the Turks ( he wasn’t actually made a saint until the 19th century ). What’s that you say? You like to strip naked and go singing in the streets? Uhhh…OK, sure, why not…We’ll call it…hmmm…Hey Carol, what do think we should call this singing thing that these guys like to do?… Really? Whatever…
Here’s the thing: If you want something to be accepted “universally” then part of the price that you pay for that universal acceptance is “homogenization”. You lose specificity in favor of generality. In other words, at least in America ( and most of the free world…), Christmas is no longer the sole province and property of Christians ( if it ever was…).
But if you are going to keep harping on about “Jesus being the reason for the season” then you need to play it like Jesus.
You my friend, can save Christmas in four easy steps:
Step one: Stop whining about the Secular Conspiracy to Destroy Christmas being waged by Socialist, Marxist, Obama-Huggers. Nobody under the age of sixty with a functioning frontal lobe is buying into your right-wing, paranoid, self victimizing, Tea Party fever dream that there is a war on Christmas. War is a serious and dreadful thing. People die in war. People lose limbs and blood and friends and fathers and mothers and children in war. Stop demeaning the immensity of that truth with your bitter, petty, self-centered diatribe.
Step two: Turn off Fox and Friends and go out and actually help some people. People less fortunate than you are not lazy, takers that lay about on sidewalks and alleyways conspiring to take more of your hard-earned tax dollars by being homeless and hungry. If you spent even a little bit of the time that you waste listening to the miserly rantings of Bill O’Reilly et al and actually engaged with the world outside of your bubble, you would be forced to recognize the truth; that by lifting up the least of us you raise us all and enrich the whole of society. Don’t believe me? Just ask Jesus.
Step Three: Open your mind and your cold little heart and accept that the true meaning of Christmas is about kindness and caring and a generosity of spirit. It is about finding the common thread of goodness that exists within all of mankind whether they are Christians or Muslims or Jews or Atheists or Buddhists or Shinto or Hindu or Wiccan or those guys that like to dress up like Star Trek characters. Christmas is not about making the world see and think as you do. It’s about recognizing the Universal Godliness in all things and bringing goodness and kindness and charity to those places where it is lacking. Even and especially within your own heart.
The simple truth is that the only battle being waged against Christmas is in the closed and narrow minds of those that honestly believe that Christmas is about having a Christmas party instead of a Holiday party, that you must say “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays” that seeing a nativity on every corner is more important than the homeless man or woman or child that is standing on that same corner.
Step four: Do something nice for animals. They are the true innocence that is left in this world.
If you need evidence as to the rightness of this philosophy then consider the writings of one Charles John Huffam Dickens. That’s right; put down that tattered, sweat-stained copy of Atlas Shrugged and pick up a copy of A Christmas Carol. Because Dickens knew that in the end, Christmas is about nothing more than the renewal and redemption of the Human Spirit through selfless acts of kindness and love.
“Business!” cried the Ghost [of Marley], wringing his hands again. “Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence were all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”
Peace on Earth, good will towards men.