Thursday, December 23, 2010
Merry Christmas - My Jewish Perspective
Merry Christmas – My Jewish Perspective
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
Merry Christmas to all who observe this Christian religious holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.
I say “my Jewish perspective,” because as a conservative, sadly, I do not speak for all Jewish people. I believe in wishing people a Merry Christmas or Happy Chanukah when I know what holiday they observe. I send out Chanukah cards to my Jewish friends and Christmas cards to my Christian friends.
When strangers wish me a merry Christmas, I thank them and offer them the same pleasantries. After all, there’s probably an 85 to 90 percent chance that wishing a stranger a Merry Christmas is correct, so I am certainly not going to get offended when the odds are stacked that way. And why should anyone get offended when being wished a pleasantry by a stranger?
Every year during the holiday season – and it is a holiday season as Chanukah, Christmas and Kwanzaa are celebrated – there seems to be a growing battle over what to say to people, how to behave in group settings, schools, town halls and stores. During this season of peace on earth and goodwill toward men, there seems to be a war on words – that in a nation that prides itself on a First Amendment right of free speech, the ACLU and other word-police groups want to ensure anything but peace on earth or goodwill toward mankind. (No doubt someone will criticize the use of men and mankind in this paragraph.)
This is an important time of the year for Christians and it should be so recognized. Granted it has been co-opted by department stores and turned into a commercialized gift-demanding extravaganza, but sadly, so too has Chanukah over recent years. Just for the record, Chanukah is not the Jewish Christmas, or more accurately, Christmas is not the Christian Chanukah, as Chanukah predates Christmas by more than two centuries.
Chanukah, while important historically, is a minor festival commemorating the Maccabee’s victory over the Assyrian-Greek rulers in a three-year war fought for religious freedom from 168-165 BCE. More religious observances for Jews occur with Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Passover, for example.
The reason for this ever so brief history lesson is to respond to the politically correct who insist on lumping all the winter holidays into a giant seasons greetings card that acknowledges nothing specific. They do this to prevent people from feeling excluded. Here’s a little clue for the PC crowd: religion IS exclusionary and that does not make it bad or wrong or damaging to anyone’s self-esteem or psyche.
That religion is exclusionary is not akin to joining a country club that refuses membership to a particular race or religion. Anyone can become a member of any religion – provided they abide by its precepts and laws. Most people simply choose to remain connected to the faith unto which they were born. People of faith do not feel excluded as they have a spiritual belief system by which to adhere. And as there are myriad religions, the holidays that fall under their related auspices should be recognized individually, and without backlash from the ACLU, atheists or any other ill-informed PC loons. It is those people who plant the seeds of strife and divisiveness.
There’s a fine line between insanity and the abyss and these examples that follow, are demonstrative of people who clearly have pole vaulted over that line with room to spare.
Protests erupted in
over a years-long tradition in a place called Pennsylvania , simply because of the name of the town. A Christmas parade in some town in Christmas Village was renamed a holiday parade so as not to make non-Christians feel excluded. The name of the town escapes me, but since is wasn’t Oklahoma or Oklahoma City , it makes one wonder how many non-Christians were affected by this? Tulsa
– no joke – in Virgin Valley High School , saying “merry Christmas” has been “forbidden” to school district employees and “strongly discouraged” for students. Mesquite, NV
But the lulu of them all came from right here in our own backyard at
in Haymarket, Battlefield High School earlier this week. A group calling itself the Christmas Sweater Club for the crazy sweaters they wear this time of the year was given detention for singing and tossing tiny candy canes to the student body – those that were at the school at , before the school day officially began. Prince William County
The club members were charged with attempting to “maliciously maim students with the intent to injure.” Furthermore, Battlefield principal Amy Etheridge-Conti said the candy canes are weapons because they can be sharpened by the consumer’s mouth and used to stab people. Clearly this is a woman who is not getting enough oxygen to the brain. Amazingly, pencils have yet to be banned at Battlefield High.
A report came out that Christmas trees were making people feel excluded, nervous and uncomfortable in
. It’s a tree, people, not a soul snatcher. What the hell is wrong with people? Canada
Make no mistake, Christmas is not my holiday and I do not celebrate it – nor should I – but I certainly enjoy the beauty of the Christmas tree in all its decorated splendor. And as much as I hate winter and the cold weather, one of my fond childhood memories was to be bundled up, piled into the car with my sister and parents, both Blessed memories, and we would drive around to look at the Christmas lights, followed by mugs of steaming hot chocolate.
I do not feel excluded from Christmas any more than my Christian friends feel excluded from Chanukah. I no more feel excluded from Easter than they do from Passover.
On this day of Christmas Eve, I say Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.
Sanford D. Horn is a writer and political consultant living in Alexandria, VA.