The Holiday Is Big Enough For Everyone



The real spoilers of Christmas are those caught up this paranoia the media have stirred up. Please calm down, you who imagine that there is some secular conspiracy trying to deprive you of celebrating Christmas. There isn't.

Honestly now, has anyone ordered you to dismantle your manger scene in your front yard? Have any churches been denied the freedom to display whatever they please on their property? Has anyone really threatened to harm you for saying "Merry Christmas?"

Richard Haddad said in his Friday editorial: "Let us not be afraid to express our prayers or belief in God." I haven't observed any Christians being afraid to do that. Most of my Christian friends are respectful and courteous toward non-Christians about religious matters, which I appreciate. Is that "putting their convictions under a bushel?" I don't think so.

Most of the incidents cited as anti-Christian are benign, though sometimes misguided, attempts to equal the playing field a little more by promoting inclusion, not exclusion. Trying to keep public places and events free of the domination of any one religion isn't persecution. Good people of many faiths and non-believers, too, value family and moral principles, including tolerance. Christians do not own morality nor do they own America. Norman Rockwell's America is a fond memory, but it's changing.

That said, omitting religious carols in school programs and Christian-centered floats in community parades is an absurd way to promote multiculturalism. Those responsible miss the whole point of inclusion. Macy's encouraging sales staff to substitute "Season's Greetings" and "Happy Holidays" for "Merry Christmas" was also absurd.

It helps to know the historical origins of Christmas. Jesus was not born on Dec. 25. His birth date is unknown, though September is favored by scholars. Dec. 25 was chosen after Emperor Constantine declared Christianity the state religion, and was based on pagan festivals on or near that date celebrating rebirth of the sun. Christ became the light of the world to believers, replacing the sun god.

Most Christmas traditions were lifted directly from ancient folk traditions. Do some research. It's a fascinating story. Christmas customs have evolved in many ways. For believers, Christ will always be its center. But it's big enough for everyone with profound meaning for everyone, no matter what it's called.

Vivian Taylor, Payson

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