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Posts Tagged ‘Santa’

For those perhaps seeking an ardent defence for your right to put up inflatable Christmas decorations (can we even call them decorations?) on your lawn, or festooning thousands of gaudy icicle lights from your roof, or otherwise uglying up the holidays with your over-the-top ornaments, I’m sorry to say, you won’t find it here.

That being said, nor will you find here an impassioned case for the traditional religious definition of Christmas, one that decries the consumer driven focus on Santa Claus instead of remembering the birth of Jesus Christ, mourning the fact that the  true meaning of Christmas may very well be lost forever.

Instead this post is a simple counterpoint to a holiday themed issue I raised last year, the issue of the changing language of Christmas; where it’s taking us, and whether or not we should be worried about it.

While I concluded last year that Christmas was, for better or worse, no longer a religious holiday, but instead a generic cultural holiday, as many diverse minorities choose to celebrate it in their own unique ways, I do believe that our culture has taken its rejection of the original roots of Christmas just a little too far.

In fact, one might go as far as to say that the language in both the public and private spheres this holiday is an example of cultural and religious tolerance run amuck, a veritable mine field of talking points that one should avoid lest they have some sort of holiday faux pas blow up in their faces.

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It’s an all out war on Christmas! Or at least that’s what many Christians in North America would have you believe. In a humorous (and not to mention heretical) episode of South Park (<– If you click on this link, prepare to be offended), this very point is put to the test in an epic battle for Christmas superiority. In one corner, Santa Claus! the jolly old fat man in a red suit; and in the other, Jesus Christ! the son of God and saviour of humanity…

                                            

While the idea of an actual duel between these icons of Christmas may seem offensive to many (and don’t worry, it’s certainly offensive) it draws attention to a very real issue for many Christians (and other traditionalists) throughout North America. Over the past several years there has been a distinct change in the language of Christmas.

Gone are the choruses of “Merry Christmas” sung or said at every public gathering, replaced by the ubiquitous “Happy Holidays,” or the nebulous “The Best of the Season to You.” (which season would that be? Winter?) For many Christians, this alteration of Christmas greetings is tantamount to declaring war on Christian beliefs, and this issue has ignited significant amounts of indignation and resistance from Christians struggling to retain their traditional cultural and religious identities. The fear, it seems, is that if Christians let the non-religious language of Christmas overtake the traditional holiday vernacular, the true meaning of Christmas will be lost forever.

 The question becomes, “Should Christians be concerned about this apparent loss of meaning at Christmas?” Is there reason to be concerned about store policies that forbid employees to wish customers “Merry Christmas,” or reason to decry the focus on Santa Claus and Rudolph as opposed to the birth of Jesus Christ? There are many reasons to resist this change in language and focus; but there are even stronger arguments for embracing it.

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