Christmas vs. “Holidays”

There’s a great post with relevance to the whole "war on Christmas" buzz at Liz Opp’s The Good Raised Up: The Jew in me at Christmas time. She tells a story of being at meeting for worship on Christmas day and listening to the kids in First Day School:

I was learning that the story of Jesus’s birth was told in play and with great love to the children, rather than being told with hatred or malice against Jews.

When I talked to my family on Christmas day, my father and my sister each made reference to the Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays debate, both scoffing at the "political correctness" of "Happy Holidays." It made me sad, their knee-jerk reaction.

My sister, who’s a small business owner, said she made sure to say Merry Christmas to every customer and had the window-painter put Merry Christmas on the shop windows. And I just thought to myself: good thing you’re in business in Brawley and not, say, Williamsburg.

I saw an actress in an interview saying she doesn’t mind when her Jewish friends wish her a Happy Hannukah, so why should anyone mind when someone says Merry Christmas. This sentiment seems to be at the center of objections by many cultural Christians. They so don’t get it. Such a lack of empathy. Have they never experienced being surrounded by people who ignore their reality? Can’t they even imagine it? Are they unable to make the cognitive leap to realizing that’s what it’s like for non-Christians in America?

I guess it’s just par for WASPs in America (and apparently the original WASPs, as well: fjm has an English perspective on the same problem).

One Reply to “Christmas vs. “Holidays””

  1. Kenneth, thanks for adding your own experience to the growing collection of Christmas/Holidays stories. I also enjoyed reading through the “fjm – English perspective” thread to which you linked–lots of insightful and thought-provoking comments there.

    For one thing, that thread triggered my “identity development” alert.

    It is not uncommon that when a minority group gains visibility (often in an effort to retain or assert its religious/cultural/racial/gender identity), the majority group retreats into itself, insisting it has the right to push back harder or speak louder (“because that’s the way it is,” or “because the other way is not natural or normal or the way God wanted it”).

    Subsequently, some members of the minority group will begin to support the backlash of the majority group, while some members of the majority group will immerse themselves in advocating for the rights of the minority group.

    Mostly when I see this sort of cycle happen (there’s more to it than what I’ve offered here), I take a big breath, look for the relationships already in place where I can engage in a tender dialogue about the dynamic, work to stay grounded in compassion, and take the very long view of how lasting, positive change typically happens…

    Blessings,
    Liz, The Good Raised Up

    P.S. Kenneth, you seem to have an incomplete link “to weblogs that reference Christmas vs. ‘Holidays'” under the TrackBack section…?

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