Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Lovely, Glorious, Beautiful Christmas

1. It’s true enough that one reason Obama is no Lincoln, at least yet, is that, at this point, he’s all talk. But geez, he’s not even president yet. My own view is that these times, as tough as they are in some ways, probably don’t call for a Lincoln anyway. So I’m not going to speculate on how Lincolnesque Barack really is.

2. So I’d probably do well to say something about Christmas. But that’s a divider--not a uniter--topic. Not everyone is a Christian. Some Christians--like our founding Puritans--believed Christmas--especially it’s timing--is basically pagan, and they’re not totally wrong. Not all Christians believe that God became man to die for our sins, and so they tend to say Christmas is about generic views of hope and joy and peace, while discourging real thought about what or whom to hope for.

3. So we’ve had, for a while, the Holiday Season, during which we say "Happy Holidays." We unite on Thanksgiving and New Years, and then agree to disagree on what holidays there are (and what their point is) in between.

4. If we were really Christians, we’d start to figure out that we should do more, if not all, of our religious carol singing and such between Christmas and Epiphany--the Twelve Days of Christmas. We shouldn’t, for example, "Go tell it on the Mountain" until Jesus Christ is actually born. Songs about sleighs, winter wonderlands, Santa, being white, being blue, and so forth are, of course, welcome any time during the season. My reform would make the Christmas season a lot less long, while not completely scuttling the amorphous Holiday Season. Not only that, restoring the custom of a present for each of Christmas’s 12 days would surely stimulate the economy.

5. My title, of course, is from the classic uniter--not a divider--Christmas movie "A Christmas Story," which is a wholly secular tale about an utterly unreligious but quite unelitist family in a seemingly unreligious, proto-rust belt town. As the president-elect would explain to us, when such ordinary folks don’t focus on God, they turn their attention to guns. That’s why Ralphie is so obsessed he’s willing to risk shooting his eye out to get the Red Ryder rifle. "Every kid, at the back of his mind, vaguely but insistently believes that he will be struck blind before his 21st birthday. And then they’ll be sorry."

Discussions - 5 Comments

Your Christmas ideas are terribly divisive and, presumably, racist. By celebrating the so-called "twelve days of Christmas", you are interfering with Kwaanza, thereby relegating to second-class status all African-Americans. African-Americans were forced for centuries to celebrate only the white man's holidays, but have finally found their voice and can once again be true to their roots. Have you no shame?

"Not all Christians believe that God became man to die for our sins."

Did I misunderstand this quote as serious when it was in jest? Regardless of how individuals define what it means to be a Christian, the essence of the New Testament and the ancient creeds is that very thing, that God became man in Christ to die for our sins. Claiming Christianity apart from this belief is a tough task.

Finally, some acknowledgement that some Christians are ambivalent about Christmas. In fact, most American Protestants would not have observed the holiday prior to 1900. By then Protestant merchants had figured out that holy days were good for business -- thank you John Wanamaker.

My goodness, thanks to dghart for actually adding to the academic discussion. Aside from your comment, NLT has been attracting some oddballs recently.

I too welcome the legendary dghart, who's no oddball.

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