This piece about the War on Christmas in HuffPo by Paul Raushenbush (real name) is a good read. He thinks the War on Christmas is over. I like his reasoning and think he writes well. So, if you’d like.. go read it. But before you do, I would like to share with you where my mind is regarding the “War on Christmas.”
I hear the stupid phrase every year. And as much as I understand what it means, I have, in all honesty, never experienced anything at all resembling what I read about. Never. Which leads me to think that this is the the kind of thing people fight about when we don’t have anything of actual significance to fight for.
For over 25 years, my family and I have centered our Christmas celebration around promoting, helping organize and raise money for a program called “Christmas for Everyone.” CFE is a organization of volunteers who commit time during the Christmas/Holiday season to serve and celebrate with people in difficult or even tragic economic circumstances.* While the majority of folks who show up to volunteer (a lot of them on Christmas Day itself), are practicing Christians, our volunteers are people of Jewish faith, Hindu practice or no religious background at all. We all work together before, during and after Christmas itself and I’m pretty sure most everyone says “Merry Christmas” when we see each other, but I don’t know for certain and I don’t really care because we have more important things to do than pick apart one another’s choice of salutation.
On Christmas day itself, the operation provides a hot meal, clothing and age-approprite gift for anywhere between 1500-3000 guests. It’s a hoot. (If you live in the Bay Area, consider spending your Christmas morning or afternoon with us.) It’s also a ton of work… which means that, for most of my adult life, I haven’t had time to even think about the difference between “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Holidays” or who is saying it and why. I seriously don’t care – not because I don’t think matters at all but because I think that if the Christ of Christmas does matter, He matters pretty distinctly to people who can’t afford gifts of their kids or hear for their homes.. or people who are sleeping outside this winter,.. and I’d rather spend my time doing what I can for those sisters and brothers than worrying what someone at the mall says to me when I walk in the door to by overprices gifts (even at half-off) for folks who don’t need them.
So, Paul Raushenbush thinks the War on Christmas is over. Hell, I didn’t know it started. But maybe now that it’s over, we can reinforce our volunteer base and help a few more people.
*My hometown Christmas Show has benefitted CFE for over a decade. If you live in the Bay Area, get a ticket and take part in a really fun event, benefitting an amazing work.