It is Merry Christmas, not Happy Holidays
This week one of my supervisors brought each of us a box of chocolate. He came to me last. He was afraid I might be offended at the offer of a Christmas gift. He was so worried he consulted a co-worker who assured him, no offense would be taken. When I thanked him and wished him Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays, I thought he was going to cry. We have reason to cry because we have reached that place in our politically correct society.
My family does not suffer from the “December dilemma.” We have a non-compete clause with Christmas. To the dismay of our local fire department, we all light a menorah. We place them in a window for all to see. It is an amazing and beautiful sight that never fails to take my breath away. I grew up with a Christmas tree, and no matter how beautifully decorated, menorah trumps tree.
Each year, I am asked if I miss Christmas. This year I saw fewer decorations, and less emphasis on Christmas. I heard Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas at every turn. I don’t miss Christmas. I think Christians are missing it. It is as if the “C” word must be avoided. It is something to be said privately and only to those you can trust. This year has been an awful year for the Jews, but Christians have not fared much better.
The often quoted Pastor Niemoller wrote: “Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.” Niemoller was initially a supporter of the Third Reich, but changed his tune as he witnessed what “good people” could do to others, including Jews. There is a war on Western Religion, but Christians are not the “New Jews.” There is no comparison. In 1939, persecuted Jews had no place to go. There was no Israel. “None is too many” was the official policy of most countries. In 2015 there are many wealthy Arab countries to absorb Muslims fleeing war in Syria. They choose not to. There are many countries to absorb persecuted Christians. However, Christians are learning what Jews know. Persecution might begin with the Jews, but it never ends there.
It never ends there, because denial is a deep, dark place. Denial allows our politicians to claim the attack on Jews in Paris last January was a “random” event aimed at “random people.” Denial allows them to claim there was a “rationale” for those attacks that did not exist in November. Denial allows them to conveniently forget that while most religiously based attacks in the US (as in Europe) are aimed at Jews, Islamophobia, not the increase in anti-Semitism is a problem. Denial allows us to believe there is a difference between diners at a café in Paris and a café in Tel Aviv. Denial allows us to believe that all of humanity share our “common values and beliefs.” Denial opens the door to stupidity.
This year, several countries banned Christmas celebrations. In Brunei, wearing a Santa hat can result in a five year prison term. Christians throughout the Middle East are beaten, raped and executed. For many Christians, the only country where they can worship freely, Israel, is the problem. Maybe it is because Western Christians believe they are immune to the suffering of their brethren. They are not. The people who brought us the recent attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, want to kill Jews. They want to kill Christians as well because they are determined to impose their law on everyone. They have millions of supporters. The Jews received a “wake up call” a few decades ago. Christians are receiving theirs. They should listen.
Christians need to worry less about offending Jews with a greeting and more about our survival. It is not wishing me Merry Christmas that offends me. It is standing idly by as the blood of your brother which is in fact our brother is shed.