With each passing year, the meaning of Christmas seems to get further and further away from its original definition and its celebration has become just another event on the retailer’s calendar.
And unfortunately divisive politics is never far away.
Congress bickers over things they should have done months ago and if you live in Iowa or New Hampshire, radio and television are filled with nonstop ads for the coming elections.
There are the annual fights over whether or not a Nativity scene should be placed on public property. Should schoolchildren be able to sing Christmas songs or even have a Christmas pageant on school property? Can a member of Congress say “Merry Christmas” in his government paid for mailings?
It seems like we are incapable of declaring a Christmas truce and putting down our political cudgels for a couple of weeks.
And then there is the commercialization of this holiday which has reached new heights. No sooner do the Halloween decorations come down at the local Walmart than the Christmas decorations go up—in early November even before Thanksgiving!
The 12 Days of Christmas have been replaced by the 2 Days of Christmas Shopping. Black Friday, the in-store shopping orgy the day after Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, the online shopping orgy the following Monday after Black Friday are more important days on the holiday calendar.
Hollywood also sees Christmas as just another business opportunity. Every year they jam the holiday season with more bad movies.
And the media dutifully reports to us about retail sales and what they mean for the economy going forward, the controversies about the public displays of religion, and reviews of those bad movies that will be filling the screens at our local Cineplex with 20 theaters and expensive overpriced snacks.
But paradoxically, that same media uses its pages and airways to do good by helping those in need—which is the real meaning of Christmas. And while they are careful to be politically correct and not offend any one person or group, the message is clear.
Peace on earth good will toward men.