BY EDWIN E. VINEYARD
This writer finds himself regretfully drawn into this thing we have going again about “Christmas.” Unfortunately, for too many this has become a controversy about nomenclature – “Holiday” versus “Christmas” – for naming the season.
While many of us think that this is a tempest in a teapot, a totally unnecessary controversy worked up by people who like to create such, it may be different for some.
There are those persons who are very religious Christians, and quite sensitive to all things which might denigrate their Christian celebration of homage. Then there are those persons who are overly sensitive to any invasion of the secular by anything religious, including Christmas, which tends to cross into their own world of business and government. Of course, there are those of Hebrew or other faiths and ancestry who may prefer the generic greetings, so as to include their own religious observances of the season.
Then it seems that there is a segment of the broad “Christian” community, namely the right-wing Republicans, who are fanning the flames of controversy for the political fallout in their favor. They make allegations of persecution and discrimination against Christians, citing some feared threat of banning “Christmas” from our lives.
Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh, along with far too many fundamentalist ministers, share the credit for politicizing “Christmas.”
The so-called controversy now has most of us somewhat sensitive to Christmas expressions of greeting. The girl at the speaker in the drive-through at McDonald’s cheerily said “Happy Holidays,” and something about it was bothersome.
Probably it was the “political correctness” that gave it an aura of artificiality.
In selecting and mailing Christmas cards from an assorted box, one finds oneself sensitive to and noticing those that say “Season’s Greetings” and those that say, “Merry Christmas.”
There is some sensitivity to political correctness in all of us, and it may even be a bit embarrassing to find it in ourselves. So the fact is that some people are getting cards in the mail which will say “Season’s Greeting” with a religious postage stamp.
How’s that for fence straddling?
After being sensitive enough to notice the difference, it is best if one just goes ahead and selects these at random anyway, choosing to ignore the issue. That is what we have always done for years and years, before somebody started the controversy.
As a college student, this writer had the good fortune to work part-time at a dry goods store owned by the Goldberg family. Sam Goldberg, although Jewish, was always exuberant about Christmas. His booming voice greeting customers, “Merry Christmas,” could be heard all over the store. He had the spirit of the season.
Incidentally, Sam Goldberg was one of the best bosses ever. He was warm and kind to people, and a consummate worker for civic good. He was “a man for all seasons” in the true sense of the expression. He knew how to bridge differences to make them less significant.
Would that we could all emulate Sam Goldberg in not only tolerating differences, but enjoying the seasons for celebration of all among us.
– The author, AKA The Militant Moderate, is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer