Thursday, December 8, 2011

What do you say?

            I’ve been following Fox News’s coverage of the War on Christmas and occasionally I catch some comments from the other guys mocking Fox News. Let me say right up front that I am a BIG Fox News fan (though I don’t understand why their male newscasters show only their heads and hands while most of their female newscasters flash thighs and cleavage. A blog for another day, I promise.) And I pretty much despise Stewart and Colbert. However, I laughed out loud at Jon Stewart’s take on the War on Christmas…which I saw on Fox’s O’Reilly Factor. (Irony?)
            There IS a war on Christmas and it’s been going on since Herod the (not so) Great attempted to kill Jesus by murdering Bethlehem’s baby boys and toddlers. But if the war on Christmas has been reduced to Santa and acceptable greetings and what we call trees, I think my side might have already lost.
            In 2008, I wrote an essay which appeared in the Williamsport Sun-Gazette Christmas Day issue. I thought I’d share it with you, since we seem to be stuck in the same war. Here it is:
            We Say Merry Christmas. Bill O’Reilly, host of the O’Reilly Factor radio and television programs, offers this motto, flanked by two fleurs de lis, on a red bumper sticker, so that Factor fans (who spend at least $19.95 in the online store) can “Show your support for Christmas.”
            The significance of the fleurs de lis escapes me. Am I showing my support for New Orleans—or France—as well?
            O’Reilly’s bumper sticker strikes back at the nonspecific Season’s Greetings and Happy Holidays, phrases foisted upon us to pretend that this great big fuss we’re making every December has nothing to do with the birth of an infant twenty centuries ago.
            Several years ago my own frustration inspired the writing of this Politically Correct Greeting: 
I’m sending you Season’s Greetings,
A month of generic good cheer.
Avoid all mention of Jesus
And have a Happy New Year.
            Don’t misunderstand. I love Christmas, and I’m somewhat fond of Mr. O’Reilly, too. I just don’t think he takes it far enough. We’re talking incarnation here, God born in human flesh, and all he can think of in support of this holy day is We Say Merry Christmas?
            I would rather take my cue from the original participants in the events that Christmas commemorates.
            An angel said, “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High,” and later, “give him the name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
            A close relative said, “Blessed is the child you will bear.”
            The child’s mother said, “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”
            A lot of angels said, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace.”
            An old prophet said, “My eyes have seen your salvation.”
            Eastern travelers said, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”
            Even lines from carols would make better bumper stickers: Joy to the world, the Lord is come…Glory to the newborn king…O come let us adore him…Go tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born.
            And all we say is Merry Christmas?
            I guess it’s a start.

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