Originally published December 8, 2007: Christmas Slipping Away, If We Let It
So now Christmas trees are just . . . holiday trees.
What is the point of a "holiday tree," again, other than to decorate the living room for a few weeks?
And why, exactly, do we bother to hang sock laundry by the fireplace?
Sometimes I can feel the heart and soul of Christmas slipping away.
I felt it as I wrote my generic "holiday" cards this week, hesitating to so much as include a picture of Santa on some cards for fear of offending a friend of unknown religious faith.
The chill of meaninglessness gripped me again this week as I read a note from my son's school telling me that a "winter music recital" will precede the "winter" break.
It's not Christmas anymore. It's just "winter" now.
How cold. How empty.
The heart and soul of Christmas is fading into the whitewash of political correctness.
We might as well just flip the calendar from November to January and be done with it.
There are some enemies of Christmas who would like nothing more.
Friends, don't let Christmas fade so rapidly into that good night. Realize that approximately 82% of Americans are Christians.
Do you realize that? Our schools, colleges, and mass media are so thoroughly purged of any mention of God that it's easy to forget who we are, most of us.
Only about 1% of us are Jewish, and another 1% are Muslim. Add a few agnostics, atheists, and persons of other religious faiths, and you've got yourself a nation.
That vast majority of Americans are Christians. You wouldn't know if from our public celebrations, these days. The dreidel song and Hanukkah seem to take equal billing with Christmas songs in many venues, including my children's schools. No, it's worse than that. The dreidel and Hanukkah compete with Frosty the Snowman. Jesus is nowhere to be seen or heard.
Honestly, if you were to give it proportionate attention, references to Hanukkah in December should come up about 1 time for every 82 references to Christmas. But it's equal billing for both holidays in many places or, worse yet, the soul-numbing whitewash of Happy Holidays, with an icy bow to winter.
All Americans should worship freely (as long as they worship side by side in peace.) I know good and peaceful Jews and Muslims who share this American life with us. Bless them!
But speaking to the 82% or so of my fellow Americans who share my faith, let us not forget our Christian heritage!
Christianity is a huge part of what made this nation great. It is Christianity, more than most other religions on earth, that recognizes the importance of separation between church and state. Jesus recognized a separation between the things of God and the things of Caesar. Christianity in America today is also a shining beacon of religious tolerance, particularly as compared to any Islamic nation on earth.
Yet we have walked willingly so far in the direction of political correctness that we are in danger of losing our own hearts and souls.
Finding nothing but "winter" in too much of the public square, I turn away from the world and seek out the tiny Christian music station on my radio, to hear every Christmas song I love. I turn to my church and happily sing Gloria in Excelsis Deo!
If I drive by our church, there's a nativity scene out front.
There's one at the local El Pollo Loco, too -- surprisingly. But someone has placed a lamb in the manger. Baby Jesus is AWOL.
I will not forget Christmas. But when you and I are long gone, will Christmas live on in America?
Please say that it will. Please teach your children well.
Merry Christmas, my friends.