Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Thoughts on "The Christmas Season"

You will notice that the title above is in quotation marks, for a reason which I will discuss in a minute. For now, though, a little on Bill O'Reilly.

It's getting really difficult for me to take his buffoonery these days. At one time I watched his show, listened to his radio program - even bought the books. But something he said the other day on the radio pretty much did it for me; "Christmas is not a religious holiday." Think about that one! I almost did a Lightning McQueen into a cactus patch off the highway when I heard that brilliant bit of commentary. Nope, not a religious holiday, it's a federal holiday. Nothing religious about it, well, except for, you know, maybe that CHRIST in Christmas. Now I tried to understand where he was going with this, that since it is an official federal holiday, and everyone gets time off (and one does NOT have to celebrate it after all)that it falls outside the scope of the battle being waged by what he calls the SP's - the Secular Progressives. As I listened to O'Reilly try to distance CHRISTmas from Christmas, I finally begin to realize just what has gone wrong with the holiday, which takes us to the title above.

I have written "The Christmas Season" that way because, for many, that is exactly what it has become. Much like Spring or Autumn, Football or Baseball season, or anything else that stretches on for an extended period of time, the "season" of Christmas is really no longer about Christ or even religion, but about everything that accompanies it. Football season is not just about the games, but about being with friends, drinking copious amounts of horrid American beer, betting pools, stats, and finally, the World Series (just kidding, I know it's the Stanley Cup). "The Christmas Season" is the same - Walmart, cold winter nights with the fire roaring, the scent of pines, Sears, cookies baking, cinnamon apples, Target, ornaments, Dillards, Rankin/Bass, J C Penney, mulled wine, Visa, Mastercard....

Okay, I'll stop now. It seems like the "season" is purely commercial now - i.e., Black Friday. I even noticed this year that Christmas stuff was creeping into stores along with Halloween stuff?! I'll admit that I love seeing all of the Christmas stuff around, the lights showing up on houses, seeing Christmas trees through open windows, and ornaments - man I love ornaments (47 boxes of them on our tree!) I have decided this year to collect Santa "stuff," figurines, ornaments, whatever I like. However, and this is a big qualifier, I know what it is all about, where it is going, and I make sure that my kids know as well. As much as Dylan loves the ideas of Santa Claus and gifts, he knows, without a doubt, that the real meaning of Christmas is the birth of Christ. As a matter of fact, even at five years old, he has become obsessed with nativity scenes and figures, and wants every set he sees. Even Caitlyn, at three, at least once a day asks if she can dress up as Mary and carry her baby Jesus around. My kids know that Christmas is not primarily about Santa, Rudolf, Frosty and getting "stuff." They know that all of that is part of it but is not the reason we celebrate the holiday - federal or not, something Bill should consider. Without CHRISTmas, there would be no federal Christmas holiday.

Now, I defer to the immortal words of Linus:

Charlie Brown Christmas


Anonymous J. C. said...

I think maybe you heard Bill O'Reilley's commentary out of context. Every year he at this time he keeps a running tab on what he calls the war on Christmas, that is to say, the movement of liberals or rabid secularists to smother the most minimal public or government-related "celebration" of Christmas. For example, the laws in several states that only allow the display of the menorah, the crescent and star, and a Christmas tree, but do not allow the display of a creche. (This may actually make it to the Supreme Court) So when he says that Christmas is a federal holiday as opposed to a religious holiday, he is actually justifying the government-mandated celebration of Christmas be imposed upon non-Christian Americans, and allowing the rest of us to celebrate it on our clearly religious and Christ-centered terms. In fact, O'Reilley, wayward Catholic that he is, numbers himself among those who celebrate the birth of Christ as the virgin birth of the long-awaited Messiah, the Son of God made man. He repeats that Christmas is a federal holiday and not a religious one insofar as our government, whose country was founded on explicitly Judeo-Christian values, established it a federal holiday giving it a status above various other religious holidays such as Hannakah, Ramadan, and Kwanza, for example, which have nothing to do directly with the founding of this country. He argues with liberals who seek to exterminate Christmas from any public manifestation (creche, specifically) that it makes about as much sense as trying to outlaw the scene of Abraham Lincoln's log cabin birthplace in commemoration of that president's birthday, that the government chose to officially commemorate the founder of the Christian religion because that philosophy underlies the founding values of this country. And he further argues that commemorating the birth of Jesus does not even conflict with the main other religions who view Him favorably as a prophet or philosopher, even if not as God, as Christians do. From that perspective, it makes perfect sense for any government entity to display a nativity scene; after all, they are just commemorating a federal holiday, and it makes no sense for an Islamic student or an atheist attending an American public school be the least bit offended when he is "exposed" to one.
You and Melissa have a beautiful family, and I've enjoyed reading both your blogs. Great recipes, too!

11/30/2006 12:04 PM  
Anonymous erin said...

BRILLIANT! Bill O'Reilley drives me nuts. Primarily because he just makes stuff up to be angry about. But, that is for another discussion.

11/30/2006 8:04 PM  
Blogger Barite said...

j.c. - I'm aware of his exposure of the attack on Christmas (really an attack on Christianity) and remember the ridicule he received for it last year. As well, I understand what he was trying to say, but I guess it is just how he framed his argument and his use of language that threw me. Sometimes he gets so wrapped up in what he is trying to say that he is not as clear as he should be (happpens to me all the time as well!). I will say this - if Christmas offends someone, don't celebrate it! There is nothing in the Constitution which gives one the right to NOT be offended, even the "seperation of church and state" is a false construct - it does not exist. Not that I want a theocracy, but, as you stated, the country is founded on Judeo-Christian values and the majority of the population believe in God.

Thanks for the comment, I look forward to more. Oh yeah, glad you like the recipes!

12/01/2006 7:16 AM  
Blogger Barite said...


Curious about your comment. Though I don't particularly care for O'Reilly too much (I have issues with how he treated the Swift Boat vets) I want to know what you think he makes up? If it's regarding the war on Christmas, all one has to do is look at the lawsuits, the ACLU's view on the holiday in public places, and so forth, to realize that he has a point. Are there other things you think he has invented that I am unaware of????


Me ;)

12/01/2006 7:19 AM  

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