On the Christmas Wars, with a Narnia theme.
The White Witch has cast a spell on the magical world of Narnia: it is always winter and never Christmas thanks to her enchantments. Across America the proponents of secularism have done all they can to uproot anything that may suggest the celebration of Christmas, replacing it with the blandness of the “winter holidays.” The parallel is striking, for it seems that modern-day secularism will stop at nothing to remove Christmas from the calendar, leaving only winter in its place. Nevertheless, just as the coming of Aslan into Narnia signals the end of the icy grip of the White Witch, even those who seek to bump Christmas off the calendar cannot prevent Christ’s coming this Christmas.
This struggle between Christians and the secular movements is nothing new. Already this year, we have seen in the news the renaming of Christmas Trees to “Holiday Trees,” the banning of Nativity scenes, and stores instructing their employees to wish shoppers “Happy Holidays” or “Seasons’ Greetings.” It is the continuing war against Christianity in America which has fallen under a spell of secularism.
What’s wrong with a Christian Christmas?
The most recent US Census shows that 80% of Americans call themselves Christians. This statistic begs the question: if more than three-quarters of the population believe that there is something religious about Christmas, why are there so many groups attacking the Christian nature of Christmas? The problem is found in the high level of secularism that has escalated in past years in the United States and other countries. Thanks to this spell of secularism, American culture has adopted the “Commercial Christmas,” where the tables have turned on Christmas as the “season of giving”: now Christmas is the season to receive.
This has come at a terrible cost. The “Commercial Christmas” requires sacrificing the meaning at the heart of Christmas, the message of the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ who gave himself to the world as the first Christmas present. This is one of the reasons why people continue the tradition of Christmas giving as a sign of this self-giving of Christ to the world in his Incarnation. Not as some say, “to give in order to receive.”
Unfortunately, this message of giving and charity is a little too much for the consciences of those groups promoting a “Commercial Christmas.” They have unleashed their teams of lawyers to remove every mention of Christmas from the holidays.
Sadly, on the front lines of battle against Christmas is the one group that should be protecting the civil liberties of religion. Behind most of the attacks upon Christmas lurks the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), a name that regrettably strikes fear and/or annoyance into the hearts of many. Under the banner of civil liberties and respect for diversity, the ACLU acts as the White Witch of America, keeping the county under the spell of winter by continually threatening the Christian celebration of Christmas with another lawsuit for offending the liberty of others. Strangely, the ACLU must not realize that maybe attacking Christmas just might be discriminatory to Christians.
Do not be afraid of Christmas
If the “War on Christmas,” as Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly calls it, has got you down, there is thankfully some positive news. After threats from the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights to boycott Wal-Mart for its anti-Christmas propaganda, Wal-Mart backed down and apologized, allowing their employees to wish customers whatever they feel is appropriate. The Boston Holiday tree was quickly renamed the Boston Christmas tree after complaints arose over the name and when the donor of the tree said that he would have preferred to toss the tree through a wood chipper rather than have it called a holiday tree.
But even though groups such as the Liberty Council and others have amassed over 1,500 volunteer lawyers for the fight to keep Christmas really Christmas, the real battlefield lies in the heart of each person. For any Christian to reject the celebration of Christmas is to reject the angel’s message of tidings of great joy to the shepherds of the birth of Jesus Christ their Savior, and to fall under the spell of the “Commercial Christmas.” To be Christian is to reject the materialist and secular “holidays” and recognize Christ in Christmas. The next time the cashier at the store wishes you “Happy Holidays,” don’t be afraid to wish her back, “Merry Christmas.”
Brother Joseph Sayegh, of the Legionaries of Christ, studies for the priesthood in Rome.