Oh sure, everyone is all distracted by the ongoing, and at this rate never-ending, War on Farts that is raging in distant parts of the world to make sure that a condition that could rise up anywhere on Earth, at any time and among any people, will never happen again. Nobody stops to ask how that might ever actually be accomplished, but I suppose it’s the nobility of the effort that makes the endless loss of life worthwhile.
But meanwhile, on the home front, another dastardly assault is under way, which somehow has been going on for nearly two centuries, under our very noses, and we only recently came to recognize it! Never mind how we could miss something so obvious, unless we’re making up an entire imaginary conflict! But of course it’s not imaginary! This is—
THE WAR ON CHRISTMAS!
Wow. Just saying that is sobering. Imagine—some barbarian in her helicopter in the far north, hovering in wait to shoot reindeer out of the sky; Santa’s cookies banned by White House socialists who force him to be given carrots or broccoli instead; entire Scroogey governments who begrudge benefits for the unemployed. But fortunately, none of these dire threats have materialized (yet); on the other hand, the very real threats may be far worse.
The first is one of the most underhanded. Santa. That’s right; jolly old elf, indeed! More like, jolly old insidious tool of the devil out to replace Christ as the focus of Christmas. The 1823 poem, “A Visit From St. Nicholas” (more familiarly known as “The Night Before Christmas”) almost singlehandedly set the tone for Christmas as we know it today—from jolly, jelly-bellied Santa, to his levitating reindeer and sleigh, to his illegally entering homes via chimneys, to his bringing gifts for children. Jolly, fun, endearing, holiday merriment and traditions! (If you don’t count the chimney break-ins.) But it’s not what is there that is insidious: it’s what is not there.
Where is the baby Jesus?! Not to mention the snow-covered, exposed-to-the-elements stable, the three kings, and other aspects of Christmas that we know are gospel truth from the Scriptures. I’ll tell you where they are: nowhere, not in that story anyway. Santa just insidiously shows up, in his insidious insidiousness sneaking down the chimneys into our homes and shoving the baby Jesus aside onto a tabletop manger scene. As if aiding and abetting him, a few decades later a foreign queen (Victoria of Britain) was influential in introducing a custom from another foreign country (Germany) (well, and surrounding areas) that by the 1870s had infiltrated most of America: the Christmas tree.
That’s right; the evergreen, a symbol of eternal life? Lights (originally, candles) on it, emblematic of the Light of the world? How naïve. All of those are really symbols of once again shoving baby Jesus aside to replace him with the material things of this world, allegedly gifts given out of love and goodwill, but eventually developing into the mammoth materialistic ballooning behemoth of commercial claptrap that is Christmas! Well, okay, so maybe all that wasn’t planned out as if it were a military strategy.
But it is a war! And all good Christians know there is only one response to the world waging war on us. Be even more aggressive, spiteful, and retaliatory, right back! Fight to eradicate these antiChristmas forces from the world!
(Side note: We don’t want people to think about the fact that, until the early 1800s, Christmas was viewed uncomfortably, if not banned outright, by conservative Protestant Christians in America, because of the holiday’s long association with libation-lubricated revelry, and because that had developed via the Roman Catholic church, which as everyone knew wasn’t a real church. In fact, that’s why “A Visit From St. Nicholas” takes place on “The Night Before Christmas”, instead of what had been the usual Christmas Day visit from St Nick; the poem neatly sidestepped Protestants’ discomfort, and in one move bamboozled people into forgetting Christmas’ boozy past, while shoving Jesus aside from Christmas!) (Not that, you’ll notice, he had exactly been in the spotlight beforehand, anyway, at least not since the original, medieval, solemn observance of Christ’s Mass.)
Not that Christians’ ideas of “fighting anti-Christian [not just anti-Christmas] forces” have ever gone really well:
In fact, it only got worse when people tried to weed out the wrong kind of Christians from among the right kind:
And people who want to do that that show up even in modern times:
But we can’t let that stop us. After all, what’s at stake now—even worse than the dastardly insurrection of Santa and Christmas trees—is shopkeepers saying Happy holidays instead of doing God’s will and wishing you a Merry Christmas. Parades get labeled “Holiday”—as if there are any other holidays worth mentioning at that time of year! And government agencies are forbidden to endorse public religious displays—almost as if government is forbidden to endorse religion in this country! And fruitcakes—well, not so big a deal; any other religions who want, can take those.
The stakes are high. Christ needs to be put back into the Christmas from which he really never got kicked out, since after all if you just dig a little beneath the gift wrap or rum nog or the word holiday, there he is, still wanting to give his love and mercy to everyone, no matter what holiday they observe (or none at all).
Now waitaminnit! Where did that come from?! I was talking about a war that it is vital we win!!!
Jesus: War? What about that “peace on Earth” stuff I had the angels singing about?
Me: Huh? Lord, you don’t speak in blogs, do you—?! That seems pretty weird.
Jesus: I can do whatever I want. Plus, consider who’s writing this thing. I mean, have you seen how he thinks?
Jesus: Never mind. Anyway, since when is all this “war” stuff with you people? When I was on Earth, did you see me rounding up armies, or even posses for that matter, and taking off after “the infidels”?
Jesus: All that palm-branch procession into Jerusalem, riding a donkey—did anyone worry whether it was called “Palm Sunday”?
Me: Well, traditions grow over time, and—
Jesus: Tradition?! I feel like I’m in Fiddler on the Roof! How about a tradition of loving your neighbor as yourself? That’s a lot older tradition. How about it?
Me: But—people secularizing a day we remember your birth—
Jesus: You don’t remember to love one another, meaning enemies and all, like I told you a bunch of times? Even supposing those people who say “holiday” instead of “Christmas” were your enemies, you’re not even treating them as good as I told you to treat your real enemies. What kind of “remembering” are you doing?
Me: But they’re trying to take Christ out of—
Jesus: So just put me back in by showin’ ’em a little love. Match, set, game. War won.
Me: But—but what if they still want to get rid of Christmas—get rid of you?
Jesus: [showing scarred hands] Oh, that always works, right? Love ’em anyway.
Me: Uh—I guess that would work. Good idea, O Lord.
Jesus: Of course it’s a good idea! My loving you got you this far, didn’t it?
Jesus: So, whatever I’ve done for you, just do the same sort of things for others.
Me: That easy? I could do that all year round, not just at Christmas.
And so the War on Christmas was won without a shot being fired, without a single person having to be tortured by Inquisitors. People just went around and, in the true spirit of Christmas, said, To hell with all this self-righteous arrogance in the name of Christ. No really, to hell with it. There’s no Christmas going on anyway, unless we’re showing Christ through who we are.