On December 14 I went to dinner at a Pacific-fusion restaurant. Many of the entrees were influenced by Szechuan and Thai cuisines. I won’t complain about the meal. In the background came the sounds of Christmas music, ranging from Andy Williams and “O Holy Night” to “Run, Rudolph, Run” from Chuck Berry. Whoever or whatever programmed the music may not have understood the nuances of song or season or simply had a twisted sense of musical perspective. Going from “O Holy Night” to “Run, Rudolph, Run” was a bit bewildering, but no more jarring than the movement from Burl Ives’ “Holy Jolly Christmas” to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s version of “Adeste Fidelis” to a jazzy soprano saxophone version of “Angels We Have Heard on High.”
I keep hearing people mutter about the “war on Christmas.” I see signs in which people grouse about “the X in Xmas,” not recognizing the connection with the Greek letter Chi, which is the first letter in the Greek word Χριστός or Christ (which in itself is short for Christ’s mass). Other voices complain about “Happy Holidays,” a greeting that points to the holy days we celebrate. (Holiday is a corruption of holy day.)
More grievous than all that: I see people becoming stirred up by other people who seem to profit from encouraging anger over misperceived slights and this notion of a “war on Christmas.” That encouragement toward anger makes me want to follow the money to see who profits and how.
As long as Pacific-fusion restaurants and car dealers and banks and other places of business play Christmas music, no war on or persecution of Christmas exists. The real war is a war on people: ordinary people and people who are well intentioned. People whose perspectives range across the spectrum of opinion. They may be Jewish or agnostic or Buddhist or even liberal Jehovah’s Witnesses, but they do not wish to harm.
If we are following the way of Christ, then we accept any holy day greetings with the grace of Christ and we respond as we would respond to Christ himself. I leave it to you as to how you respond to the Christ.