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No, Virginia, There Is No War On Christmas.

I know you are frightened by media sages who trumpet that Christmas is under attack. But let’s take a reality check:

–Churches all over <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />America are observing Advent and preparing for Christmas. Not one of them has been shut down.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />
 
–My family got our Christmas decorations out of storage and put them up as we always do. No one searched our home for contraband Christmas decorations.
 
–While shopping this season, I have heard “O, Holy Night,” “Joy to the World,” and other religious songs playing in the store. No one changed the channel.
 
–The church across the street had its annual drive-through Nativity. The city police directed traffic, but didn’t blockade the event.
 
–We are receiving Christmas cards in the mail without any censorship.
 
–Charities are working tirelessly to help those in need. No one confiscated the angel tree or seized the Salvation Army kettle.
 
–The annual orgy of consumerism rages unimpeded.  I bought gifts in stores and online without the slightest difficulty (other than budgetary concerns).
 
If this is a war, then someone needs to appoint a War on Christmas Commission to give them advice!
 
The supposed hallmark of the War on Christmas is the substitution of “Happy Holidays” for “Merry Christmas.” If that is so, then listen to the subversive words of the following Christmas favorite:
 
Happy Holiday
Happy holiday, happy holiday
While the merry bells keep ringing
May your ev’ry wish come true
Happy holiday, happy holiday
May the calendar keep bringing
Happy holidays to you.
 
Who would have guessed that Bing Crosby was the vanguard of the War on Christmas? Did you know that the word “holidays” is derived from the expression “holy days?”
 
Virginia, our reality check reveals that the “War” turns out to be mostly hot air and overheated anxiety, with a few incidents of ill-conceived political correctness. If I were inclined to be frightened, I would be concerned about the underlying message of all this rhetoric.  Evidently, some of the huge majority of complacent, cultural Christians feel threatened by small minorities of atheists, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Zoroastrians and Neo-Pagans.
 
In the Land of False, Forced Options created by the prophets of culture warfare, no one can be inclusive or sensitive to others who are different. You are either for Christmas, or you are besieging it.
 
I had a dream that Jesus was born in the United States this Christmas. Mary gave birth in the county hospital because Joseph didn’t have health insurance. The wise men couldn’t visit the baby Jesus. They were denied visas because they were religious leaders from Iran. No one noticed that Jesus was born because they were too busy shopping and arguing over how to celebrate Christmas.
 
No, Virginia, there is no War on Christmas. Go back to sleep. Christmas will come as always in this land of religious liberty for all.
 
Happy Holy Days!
 
James Browning is assistant professor of religion at Pikeville College in Pikeville, Ky.