THE GRINCH BEHIND THE CHRISTMAS CO-OPT© 2011, Vicki Hinze WARNING: This is a no-edit zone…
In a thought-provoking Twitter discussion, I asked a simple question about Christmas. Christmas celebrates Christmas. We have Christmas trees, Christmas lights, Christmas presents, and for believers, the celebration of Christ’s birth.
Happy Holidays celebrates . . . what?
What holiday? What traditions? What exactly does happy holidays celebrate?
Only one person responded. “Happy holidays celebrates diversity.”
Ah, so Diversity is the Grinch, then. But wait. That premise raises more questions than provides answers. Diversity of what? I wondered. Of faiths? Of traditions? Of beliefs? Heritage?
I thought about this overnight, and awakened still thinking about it this morning, and, while I am admittedly a simple woman and not a grand thinker or theologian, I have no choice but to respectfully disagree—diversity is not the Grinch—and I disagree on the simplest of grounds. The basic premise tagging it is flawed in an evident but telltale way.
Between Christmas, Ramadan, Yom Kippur, Diwali and Vesak Puja, the world’s major religions are pretty well represented. And yet on none of the other days do you hear or see “Happy Holidays” substituted. Only Christmas. If diversity were the Grinch co-opting Christmas, then wouldn’t the others cited be co-opted as well?
I have many friends of many faiths and none seem intimidated by Christmas. Many wish me a merry Christmas, respecting my faith though it differs from their own. I wish them good tidings on their special days. It’s mutual respect. Oh, there are some who oppose any religion or anyone exercising it, though that’s a direct violation of rights under our laws. (You can express your freedom of religion but can’t infringe on anyone else’s right to express theirs.) Yet those people aren’t the Grinch. They opt out not co-opt. That’s their choice, also under our laws.
I muddled through a lot of other potential candidates but for one reason or another all were flawed and not the Grinch—until I reached apathy.
It’s no secret that there’s been a war on Christmas and on faith itself in this country. When students in grade school are viewing films that violate the spirit of America by instructing kids to rely on their government and put their faith in mother earth, that war is clear. When God can’t be mentioned—bizarre for a country that printed the Bible as its first book for the purpose of teaching it to children in school—and we allow it, that’s apathy.
And so under the guise and pretext of not offending anyone, the war isn’t limited to Christmas but is expanded to faith. Many wish to make America a godless nation, and they’re unfortunately meeting with some success. But they’re not doing it by fighting huge battles. No, it’s more insidious than that. They’re fighting the war by nudging, by suggesting that we be politically correct to the point that our citizens become muddled and unsure of what is proper and acceptable and so they take the “safe” route that’s prescribed to not be offensive. Battle won, and then it’s on to the next battle with the next nudge.
The Grinch is apathy. Because we are a good people who don’t want to offend. And nudge by nudge, things we embrace and believe, longstanding traditions and expressions of faith, are eroded and fade away. In cases, even the memory of them disappears; history is being rewritten to obliterate and assure the battle need not be fought again.
Many among us wake up one day and are shocked to see these special things gone. Surprised at the animosity generated in simply wishing someone a merry Christmas. Startled at the controversy over lighting a Christmas tree. Stupefied at the disdain shown on offering someone a Christmas gift, much less at celebrating the birth of the ultimate gift God gave in offering us His son.
We hear much on the news that is worrisome. Over and again we’re told the world is a dangerous place. While that is true, it is also true that nudges and suggestions of this ilk are equally dangerous. Losing our heritage, forfeiting our traditions and getting muddled about who we are and why we are who we are—those are more dangerous. When you gut the spirit out of America, what do you have left?
You have a people with no spirit, no roots, no compass. What then do you possess to face personal or worldly adversaries? Think about it. What is left? Despair? Hopelessness? Living life overwhelmed and helpless? That’s in direct contradiction to what God wants for us and in what most of us want. But it and worse is what an apathetic society gets.
And unfortunately, what’s left is more nudging and suggesting. What’s left is more apathy, the Grinch behind the Christmas Co-op.
Nudging back with wishes for much joy and many blessings to you and yours this Christmas season,