Thursday, November 30, 2006

Show Us Some Respect

Three Kings (Success magazine cover) 1900 - J.C.LeyendeckerFirst of all let's get something straight. Christmas is not a "Winter Holiday" no matter what some may think or wish. Christmas is the Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah, according to the New Testament of the Holy Bible. All the sophistry in the world cannot remove that fact from Christmas. Nowhere in the Bible are Christians told to celebrate this birth. In fact the New Testament enjoins Christians to celebrate one thing only: Communion. Not Easter, Lent, nor any of a host of festivals and celebrations that Christians have chosen to celebrate over the last two thousand years. But Christians do celebrate Christmas.

Having said that, let's move on a tad, shall we? A little investigation will show the faithful Christian that Jesus was not born in December - not under the Julian calendar nor under the Gregorian calendar. By all textual readings, the evidence is that Jesus was probably born in late August or early September. So we know that the celebration of Christmas is flawed from a standpoint of the time of the year. Is this important? No. Christmas is celebrated to mark the birth of Jesus, not to commemorate a particular time of the year. (For a similar problem, take a look at the timing of Good Friday and Easter)

Now, we know that one of the red herrings used by the Faithless has been to forward the claim that Christmas was simply laid over the Pagan celebration of the Saturnalia. This Winter celebration was the second of three which took place in December (by the Julian Calendar), the first being the Consualia on December 15, the Saturnalia on the 17th, and then the Opalia on December 19th. By lumping them all together and giving the celebration a Christian gloss, it is claimed, Christianity commandeered a Pagan Holiday for their own use. And so what? The purpose of Christmas, again, is to celebrate the birth of the Savior, the Messiah. It is not to celebrate the Winter Solstice.

It is a nice gesture for certain retailers to allow the words "Merry Christmas" back into their establishments. The fact that some had banned those words is a sorry sign. Under the handy catch-all of "not wishing to offend non-Christians," these same establishments managed to offend Christians. It would seem that, as usual, offending Christians is unimportant. Offending some amorphous minority, however, is evil and must be stopped at all costs. Thus we ban the word "Christ" from the Christmas Holiday. At that point, then, we also see the same old arguments arise: Christmas has nothing to do with Jesus, Christmas is just a retailers holiday, Christmas is too commercial, blah, blah, blah.

Look, any person in the Western World who is offended by the greeting, "Merry Christmas," is in need of psychiatric care, not in need of humoring. If I know somebody is Jewish, and I remember when Hanukkah commences, I definitely wish them a "Happy Hanukkah!" I certainly don't wish them a "Merry Christmas." But what rational Jew would ever feel slighted, debased, or insulted by a person wishing them a "Merry Christmas"? None. It is the irrational person who finds offense where none exists. And the irrational person should never be catered to.

I celebrate Christmas because it is the commemoration of Christ's birth. For no other reason. If I wish you a "Merry Chrismas," and you say to me, "But I'm Jewish," have I insulted you? Of course not! And I will, more than likely, reply, "In that case, Happy Hanukkah!"

If a Jew wishes me a "Happy Hanukkah," - and that has happened twice in my life - I would never dream of being insulted, or taking offense, or even correcting them. I've been bestowed with a nice blessing! How could that be offensive? My reply would be, "Why thank you! And a Happy Hanukkah to you, too!"

The real offense lies in trying to remove Christianity and Judaism from public. Rewriting history texts to downplay, or eliminate altogether, the force of religion on history, is foolish beyond reckoning. In the self-same text books that eliminate Christianity from history, you will find damned little information on the bloody march of Islam. How can anybody learn real history if they know nothing of the strengths and weaknesses of religion in human history? Squeezing Christmas from the schools is not simply an insult to Christians, but a danger to Jews, as well. Because we are seeing a deification of Islam in our schools that is acceptable to the Left, yet ignores the reality of its dangers to civilization.

The Eastern World took a different path, and thus has less interest in Christmas other than for its public ritualization - Santa, Christmas Trees, the department store sales, etc. - rather than the personal beliefs of its celebrants. That's as it should be. I rather doubt that the Vietnamese celebrate Cinco de Mayo. But they celebrate Tet. We celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah, despite the fact that neither celebration is suggested in the Bible. It is in our traditions to do so. And our traditions are every bit as important to us as Ramadan is to Muslims. Just a reminder to those who oppose Christmas celebrations: Christians are in the majority, here. Why not try to accept us, with the same open-handed joy, that you do with Muslims?

Anyone who would rather opt out of Christmas or Hanukkah celebrations may do so. No offense taken. But please stop fighting so hard to destroy the Christmas celebration by calling it a Winter Holiday, and getting us ready for Eid.

For a Different Kind Of Christmas Poem, visit Anna at A Rose By Any Other Name, then check out her Cookies And Sweets! Boy, Howdy!

Then, take the time to read about Christmas Cacti at Born Again Redneck, where Patrick posts some beautiful images. Surf his site, if you haven't already. Good stuff to be discovered there!

Don't miss Angel's post titled No ChristmaS!.. ok? It isn't just in the PC USA that Christmas is under assault.

Addendum: Check out Gayle's post at My Republican Blog, Fight Back For CHRISTmas!

Cathrina commented on this post, and as I usually do with a new visitor, I checked her profile and saw she has a few blogs to her name. One of those blogs, Christmas Around The World, had an interesting post, part of which said,
"When my friend Laura and her husband returned from Europe at the beginning of summer, they returned with clothes and books. They rented an unfurnished apartment and took their stuff out of storage and unpacked more clothes and books. With very little money on hand and only one income, they realized they would be without a wardrobe for quite a while. Thankfully, their landlord was not an unobservant fellow and by the end of their first week, he came and offered to loan them his old wardrobe, which lay unused in storage until he could get around to refinishing and refurbishing them."

Follow this link and read the whole thing. I know you'll enjoy this.

20 comments:

a.k.a. Blandly Urbane said...

Whenever I hear of the bitchers and Christmas I am always reminded of the fact that Christ was not born in Dec, etc.

Ultimately we have people offended for no reason as Christmas can just be that shoppers time of year to those offended. Instead they are not happy unless they are manipulating it in some way or erasing it all together.

As far as being offended if wished a "Happy Hanukkah?" No, I wouldn't be offended either, however being the smartass I am, I might feign offense for an uncomfortable silence then go from there, but that's just me.

benning said...

I can see you, leaving upset people in your wake! LOL

WomanHonorThyself said...

Wow Benning!..ya outdid yourself on this post!..thanks so much for the link!...only Muzlims take "offense" and we all know it..so unless we want Sha-rriaaaaaa we better keep saying Merry Christmas AND Happy Chanukah loud and clear hun!

Jack's Shack said...

This is one of those areas in which we disagree. I don't believe that there is a real war on Xmas.

I won't ever accept the argument that we live in a Xtian nation. That may be the majority religion, but it doesn't change the reality that there is a separation of church and state.

Christmas and Chanukah do not carry equal weight. Chanukah is a minor holiday that falls around the same time as Christmas.

There is such a thing as the tyranny of the majority.

Happy holidays is simply more inclusive. But I guess that some people aren't as interested in that.

But what do I know. I despise the hypocrisy and commercialism of this time of year. It is a sad thing to see.

Patrick Joubert Conlon said...

Well, that was a great read - and what a nice surprise to find your plug at the end. Thanks.

Tubby said...

I celebrate Christmas and your quote, "Christmas is the Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah," defines Christmas for me.

I have known some devout Christians whose conscience did not allow them to celebrate Christmas. And I have also known some devout Christians whose conscience did allow them to celebrate Christmas. But of the particular people I refer to, I am
certain that the guiding principle for each was "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Corinthians 10:31)

benning said...

Great Scripture choice, Tubby!

Patrick: My pleasure.

Jack: I agree with you that there is no concerted effort to wage War on Christmas. But I do see attempts being made to remove its inherent meaning by those who would destroy any semblance of Christianity or Judaism from the public scene. Yes, there is such a thing as a Tyranny of the Majority. But even worse is the Tyranny of the Minority. What we need is less sensitivity and a lot more common sense.

Angel: Thanks!

Gayle said...

Wonderful post, Benning, and thank you so much for the link.

I've never been wished a "Happy Hanukka" but I would not be insulted in the least if I were. Like you, I would simply respond in kind. People who want to remove Christ Himself from Christmas are worse than the Grinch, and he was simply an evil, fictional character. Perhaps as kids they watched that movie one too many times! ;)

cathrina said...

see..its not like critisizing any religion or anything...christmas is the celebration of every single people..bcoz its simple..a celebration to show u love and u care..

Brooke said...

"I would never dream of being insulted, or taking offense, or even correcting them. I've been bestowed with a nice blessing!"

Absolutely! It seems that society nowadays LOOKS for ways to be offended, because they enjoy the game of feigning indignation.


MERRY CHRISTMAS!

camojack said...

I like what Ben Stein said on the subject.

Oh, and...ELEVENTEEN!!!

benning said...

Camo: Good link! I enjoyed that. Stein is quite an enjoyable writer. Thanks! Oh, and, what does Eleventeen mean????

Brooke: Thank You!

Gayle: If they did, they got exactly the wrong message from it!

Cathrina: Thanks for stopping by. I added a link to one of your blogs in the posting. Don't be a stranger!

Anna said...

Great post, Benning. I had someone commenting on my post regarding state constitutions and how all references to God should be eradicated from government documents. I couldn't believe it! To change history for political correctness or an over-zealous need to put a wall up between church and state is just wrong.

Anyway, a great post and thank you for the linkage, dearie!

defiant_infidel said...

Grand Slam, Benning! Timely, to the point and poignantly tolerant! I too echo the sentiment of Anna that the alteration of history to be PC is simply unacceptable.

Your usual great job!

Oh, and Merry Christmas, Sir!

Always On Watch said...

And our traditions are every bit as important to us as Ramadan is to Muslims. Just a reminder to those who oppose Christmas celebrations: Christians are in the majority, here. Why not try to accept us, with the same open-handed joy, that you do with Muslims?

Hear, hear!

Our Constitution doesn't guarantee the right not to be offended. Those so easily offended by religious holiday-greetings need to get over themselves.

And here's another thing....Retailers who have gone to the sorry euphemism "Happy Holidays!" don't mind grabbing the bucks generated by those who celebrate Christmas.

So, to all here, I wish you an early Merry Christmas! And if you're offended, too bad.

Anonymous said...

Have a merry end-of-December, Benning!

maxix said...

But I do see attempts being made to remove its inherent meaning

What is its inherent meaning? I am not trying to be obtuse or difficult, just wondering.

I suspect that part of the reason that I see this differently is that I have had to fight for my beliefs in ways that some of your readers may not.

Been in more than one fist fight with less enlightened individuals. All of this came down to my being Jewish.

I could tell all sorts of stories about the good Christians that I have met and the nasty ones too.

That is the beauty of people, we get the good and the bad.

It would be nice if we could all just get along, but it doesn't always work that way.

And that is part of why I choose to be more inclusive. Happy Holidays covers it pretty nicely.

I believe in G-d. But I don't see a need to try and force my beliefs on others. I am sure that some people are shaking their heads now, but I just know from my experience that sometimes it is smarter to draw tighter lines.

Good fences often make for good neighbors.

FWIW, one of the things I very much appreciate about the blogosphere is the opportunity to have discussions like this.

It is a good way to hash things out. Someone may come up with something that makes me change my mind.

Who knows.

Anyway, let's hope that we all have a safe and healthy holiday season. There is a lot of crap going around right now, things could be worse.

I sure am thankful for what I have got.

maxix said...

But I do see attempts being made to remove its inherent meaning

What is its inherent meaning? I am not trying to be obtuse or difficult, just wondering.

I suspect that part of the reason that I see this differently is that I have had to fight for my beliefs in ways that some of your readers may not.

Been in more than one fist fight with less enlightened individuals. All of this came down to my being Jewish.

I could tell all sorts of stories about the good Christians that I have met and the nasty ones too.

That is the beauty of people, we get the good and the bad.

It would be nice if we could all just get along, but it doesn't always work that way.

And that is part of why I choose to be more inclusive. Happy Holidays covers it pretty nicely.

I believe in G-d. But I don't see a need to try and force my beliefs on others. I am sure that some people are shaking their heads now, but I just know from my experience that sometimes it is smarter to draw tighter lines.

Good fences often make for good neighbors.

FWIW, one of the things I very much appreciate about the blogosphere is the opportunity to have discussions like this.

It is a good way to hash things out. Someone may come up with something that makes me change my mind.

Who knows.

Anyway, let's hope that we all have a safe and healthy holiday season. There is a lot of crap going around right now, things could be worse.

I sure am thankful for what I have got.

camojack said...

benning:
Eleventeen is my very own word, and I use it whenever I'm posting the eleventh comment, if I notice and/or remember. I do it at my own blog a lot. Silly, huh?

I'm glad you liked the Ben Stein article...

Anonymous said...

Check out my blog. I am sure you will like it.
http://yinglebells.wordpress.com/