Stream: The Future of ‘Merry Christmas’ in America
We’ll soon be able to say “Merry Federally Recognized Holiday of December 25th That Shall Be Nameless!”
Strike that. I meant “Merry Christmas”.
The former was last year’s version, often found beside “Happy Holidays”. When my dad hears this bland salutation he always asks, “And what holidays are those?”
Anyway, “Happy Holidays” was last year. This year, now that America has been made great again, we can express something approaching the true meaning of the holy day.
But for how long?
It’s true the once United States was always a majority Christian nation, and still is, in the sense that, if asked, about seven out of ten admit membership in the Body of Christ.
What it means to be Christian is not as clear as it once was, though. More than a few Christians have relegated Our Lord to being a nice fella who was nothing more than a charismatic community organizer who taught people the “miracle” of sharing. Many of these folks are only one yoga class short of joining the “Nones“. These so-called spiritual-but-not-religious “Nones” are already about one out of four Americans, and growing.
If trends continue, it won’t be long before the number of people willing to both admit and act on Christian beliefs will fall below a majority. Some say we have passed this point already. This doesn’t imply opposition to Christian principles will be everywhere and immediate, but it does mean Christian influence in politics and culture must decrease.
What does that mean for Merry Christmas?
There have been for many years anti-Christian agitators petitioning local, state, and federal governments to remove Christian symbols of Christmas, like créches. Trees, Santa, and encouragements of shopping are non-controversial. The argument is that Christian symbols like nativity scenes on government property represent official endorsement of Christianity.
They do, too.
You’re not supposed to admit this, because it’s granting a point to the agitators (who never accept their victories with good grace). Oh, there are all kind of fine legal distinctions about what “endorsement” and the like means, but posting these symbols on state property is certainly not a condemnation of Christianity, nor are they meant to show indifference. At the least it is the government acknowledging that, here, where the symbols are, live a majority, or an influential plurality, of Christians.
So skittish of any legal controversy have governments become, that the local Washington DC government refused advertisements on public transportation from its Catholic Archdiocese. The ads “depicted three shepherds, two animals and a star in a landscape scene” accompanied by the words “Find the Perfect Gift.” Cute, but tepid. (The Archdiocese is suing.)
Iconoclasts like to say removing Christian symbols is “inclusive”. But that’s just their inveterate habit of using opposite-speech. Like when abortionists call killing “reproductive health”, or when lawmakers say a favored program was “cut”, when in fact the rate of increase was reduced.
Jingle them bells and read the rest!
I started calling it the “Holiday of Excessive Conspicuous Consumption” when I was 12 years old. It has not been “Christmas” in decades. You’re finally waking up to that?
Oh, and I should mention that the postmaster asked if I wanted “December” stamps when I bought stamps this month. You may mourn appropriately.
“Happy Holidays” existed even long ago in more Christian times, at least here in Brazil as “Boas Festas”. It was a good way to condense “Merry Christmas” and “Happy New Year”, if you wanted to write big letters on a small card or whatever. Obviously, the enemy has now taken advantage of how non-specific this language is, which is too bad.
Also, did you see the news about how North Korea forbade Christmas? Kim Jong-un wants people to celebrate his grandmother’s birthday instead — the “Sacred Mother of the Revolution”. It’s hard to immanentize the eschaton if people are still Christians.
We shouldn’t be worried, but we should be aware. Oremus.
RE: “If trends continue, it won’t be long before the number of people willing to both admit and act on Christian beliefs will fall below a majority.”
“act on Christian beliefs” — presumably that’s intended to “act” in the sense of doing good deeds, setting a good example and so forth (as opposed to getting into the debate about being saved by faith along vs faith without works fails; etc.)
There’s a larger issue — why is “admit” even a parameter?
One’s faith is a private matter. But set that aside.
How about the notion of ‘admitting to oneself’ of holding a faith, AND, behaving consistent with the precepts of that faith. Such harmony is the antithesis of hypocrisy…and “God knows” there’s no shortage of hypocrisy, and always has been.
If it is better to be ice cold than lukewarm, then, maybe if society is shifting to where “… the number of people willing to both admit and act on Christian beliefs will fall below a majority …” might have as part of the demographic trend an overall increase in the amount of harmony between professed beliefs and behavior. Less hypocrisy centered on matters of faith.
Maybe not a “good” trend, but, perhaps, “better” for society overall if religious hypocrisy is in decline. If that’s even part of the trend…
Some additional food for thought:
Consider this remark, “…it does mean Christian influence in politics and culture must decrease…”
If we consider the social scenario where over the past few decades “Christian” expression in government and elsewhere, as in the form of public displays (e.g. nativity scenes, etc.), were left untouched, we’d still have this other issue Briggs, finally if barely, acknowledges:
“What it means to be Christian is not as clear as it once was, though. More than a few Christians have relegated Our Lord to being a nice fella who was nothing more than a charismatic community organizer who taught people the “miracle” of sharing.”
Way back, a generation or two or three ago, before the “progressives” started pushing atheism, and all that other stuff anathema to traditional Christian values, Christianity was fragmented and fragmenting into many sects/denominations with many incompatible (often outright heretical) doctrines. Bemoan the social pressures all you want, but the ugly and largely unaddressed fact remains that Christianity has been self-destructing under its own weight, for a variety of reasons, for a very long time completely independent of external progressive social forces.
This Holiday Season I’m perfectly willing to wish all a Merry Impeachment… (and the sooner the merrier)