As Americans, debating important issues is our birthright. But carrying out a “war” over how to acknowledge the holidays does not honor this season of peace.
There are a few more seasonal peaceniks in the Chicago area than I suspected.
About 53 percent of respondents to a poll posted on Suburban Life Publication’s websites last week said they were content with however people wanted to acknowledge the holidays. The other option, that people should show due respect and say "merry Christmas," was selected by about 47 percent.
Granted, with 40 people registering their opinion, this was an unscientific poll. But it surprised me that such a high percentage of respondents expressed a much more lenient view of this issue. The supposed "war on Christmas" is a major point of contention with some people, and it’s only grown in intensity over the past few years.
This battle is nothing new. The debate over where society should draw the line between religious faith and secularism is as old as our republic. Why should the way Americans observe Christmas be any different?
Despite how irritated many become over the conflicting viewpoints, having this debate is healthy. People need to rejuvenate their beliefs by making such arguments public.
But yuletide warriors on both sides of this issue must rethink their tactics. Using Christmas to club each other over the head doesn’t serve anyone’s interests.
Non-Christians such as me shouldn’t take offense if someone wishes us a merry Christmas. We may not believe the theology behind the nativity myth, but we’ll all experience the Christmas holiday in some way. We should accept the greeting in the good-natured spirit in which it is offered.
Likewise, Christians must recognize that not everyone observes Christmas in the same manner. Becoming angry and spiteful over the nonreligious inclinations of a secular society is to fail to grasp the meaning of this holiday.
Feel free to wish merry Christmas to whomever you want. But allow other people the same liberty to extend holiday greetings as they see fit.
Jesus wouldn’t be pleased to see his birth commemorated with a war. If we refuse to experience the peace and joy of this season toward others, what’s the point of marking it at all? Don’t acknowledge Christmas with your lips if you can’t feel it in your heart.
In the spirit of the moment, I’d like to wish everyone a very pleasant weekend.
Jerry Moore is the opinions editor for Suburban Life Publications. Contact him at (630) 368-8930 or firstname.lastname@example.org.