Thursday, December 09, 2004

Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas!

I am encouraged by the reaction I am seeing to the marginalization of Christmas by many in our society. Christmas has been under increasing attack for years; first by creeping commercialism and now by those who would do away with it entirely, replacing it with the generic notion of the "Holidays".

Take, for example, my kids' experience at school. They have been learning about Hanukkah, bringing home multiple dreidels and coins (both symbols of the eight day celebration). Hannukkah is a legitimate feast on the Judaic calendar celebrating a miracle associated with the return of Jews from exile and the restoration of the Temple. However, absent Hanukkah's proximity to Christmas, it would almost certainly be a minor feast on the order of Yom HaBikkurim, the feast of the First Fruits -- a feast celebrated on the first day following the Sabbath after Passover.

The kids have also been learning about Kwanzaa, a completely contrived holiday, created in 1966 by individuals who desired an Afro-centric holiday in counterpoise to Christmas. In its roots and ideals, Kwanzaa more closely resembles a pagan feast than a Judeo-Christian holiday.

After all this learning about these marginal holidays, you would expect something to be said about Christmas. Well, so far Christmas has rated a big, fat goose-egg, save for a few "Christmas" songs, like "Frosty the Snowman". This is pretty ironic, considering that it is Christmas which, after all, is the real reason for this season of celebration in the first place.

Don't get me wrong: I respect anyone's right to celebrate whatever holiday they wish -- just don't do so at the expense of diminishing Christmas or even equating the other "holidays" with the second most important feast in Christianity. I think more people are starting to feel the same way, judging by anecdotal evidence I have seen and heard. Let's hope it continues!


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