For Christ’s sake, can’t we wish each other a “Merry Christmas?”
I’ve consigned myself to accepting the commercialization of Christmas, what with carols being pumped out in department stores between putting away the wilted jack-o-lantern and pinning on a poppy for Remembrance Day.
I’ve never been one to greet friends and strangers with a half-hearted “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings,” whatever the latter actually means. And I save my wishes for sometime around the Winter Solstice, when you can sense Christmas in the air (or is that mincemeat?) and you can almost see Rudolph’s red nose and Santa’s sleigh on the horizon (or is that a snowmobile being driven illegally in the ditch?)
But Christmas, with its pagan origins and cartoon elves has moved beyond faith to fiction. It’s taken centuries of priests, pop songs, Hollywood screenwriters and animators to create this melting pot mélange of icons known as Christmas. We’ve somehow redefined Christmas: from Virgin birth, wise men and shepherds, to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, and Santa Claus leaving presents under a tree — with some good old-fashioned heathen overeating and drinking thrown in for good measure.
Annually we are flooded with “Christmas controversies” as we in the media like to call them: instances from around the globe of real Grinches and the politically correct who want to take religion out of Christmas. And we wonder why Christ’s Second Coming is taking so long? The man clearly is no longer welcome in his adopted home.
In Saskatoon some anti-Christmas nut cluster threatens to take the City of Saskatoon to the human rights commission because transit buses flash a “Merry Christmas” message. Throughout the wintry land there are instances where Nativity scenes have been replaced in public places by less threatening symbols such as Frosty the Snowman and Santa Claus. And there’s always some idiot politician who calls the big green plant with all the blinking lights on it in the town square a “Holiday Tree,” not a Christmas Tree. This year it’s the governor of Rhode Island.
I found it mildly amusing that Mecca Glen School principal Al Libby was boasting at his school’s Christmas concert last week that his students openly celebrate Christmas, not “the holidays;” meanwhile back at Wolf Creek Public Schools central office administration and the board of trustees sent of an electronic “Season’s Greetings” message. Why are they afraid to utter the C-word?
In Little Rock Ark. a church found itself in the middle of a Christmas controversy when a mom learned her child’s school class was going on a field trip to the church to watch a matinee performance of A Charlie Brown Christmas. The generations old classic is religious material. Making Charles Schulz an apostle, apparently.
As Charlie Brown plaintively wondered: “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?”
The answer in Ponoka is yes.
Volunteers are presenting the annual Blue Christmas service Dec. 21 and PCHS students in Ponoka showed they care with their annual Santa’s Anonymous campaign. Organizers with the Ponoka Community Christmas dinner on Dec. 25 invites everyone who wants to enjoy a great meal and socialize with friends new and old.
And if the Christmas spirit can be expressed in volume, the enthusiasm for Christmas has been shown in traditional carol concerts and original school plays.
Some of us will celebrate the religious aspect of Christmas; some of us will rejoice in the time we spend with family and friends. Hopefully, in the end, the result is the same.
If you can’t be home for Christmas, have Christmas in your heart.