I suppose life is simpler when you're young, because the world itself is simpler. My dad used to say as much when I was little. Was the world really so complicated when I was young and he was older? I guess it depends on which one of us you asked in 1960.
When I was growing up in Ohio, the town where I lived would put up decorations along the main drag, like every other town. They all said "Seasons Greetings." Not "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays." It wouldn't have occurred to me that Christmas was being downplayed. Not in a town settled in 1787 by Methodists, who still pretty much run it more than two centuries later, and not in a town where Santa Claus rode a fire truck through the streets of town on the Sunday before Christmas, handing out bags of treats to all the children.
And believe it or not, NOT AT STARBUCKS!
So I went to Starbucks yesterday, and decided to test the limits of political incorrectness (the basis for which is allegedly why they don't want my business, or whatever some right-wing yahoo is ß!+©#ing about this year), and maybe order coffee. When the cashier asked me what my name was to put on the card, I said: "Merry Christmas." Without hesitation, he wrote "Merry Xmas" on the cup. (The "X" is the first letter of the Greek name for Christ. That's where it comes from, you big dummy!) That's also one less reason (or two, because I just mentioned another one) to boycott Starbucks.
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While the actual birth date of Christ remains a matter of debate among scholars and historians alike, the season itself, from time immemorial, and among people who had yet to hear the Gospel, has been associated with the passing from darkness to light, inasmuch as there was celebration at or near the winter solstice, the longest night of the year. Over two millennia, Mother Church has taken that which was good in itself from many cultures, and has elevated such customs to convey the message of Christ. And so we have Christmas trees out of Germany, decorated with lights and ornaments, and lighted star-shaped lanterns in the Ukraine, carried on poles to light the way for singing carols.
As Christmas celebrates the coming of the Prince of Peace, so peace has often reigned on this occasion in the midst of war. An example from modern history would be the Christmas Truce of 1914, a century ago tonight, when British and German soldiers, on the night before Christmas, declared a spontaneous truce and met one another in No Man's Land, singing carols, exchanging coffee and cigarettes, sharing family photos, and even playing a game of soccer. It was not the only such occasion (as the accompanying video clip tells of a replay the following year), and commanders from both sides made attempts to prevent it. And yet, there were men from both sides who befriended one another, even after "the war to end all wars."
The Faith upon which the Incarnation is built, and the Church founded by Him to spread that message, have always been under siege, and the blood of Her martyrs has been the seed-bed of an ever-growing harvest. Witness the occurrence in November of 2010, at a shopping mall food court in Ontario, in Excruciatingly-Politically-Correct Canada. This wouldn't happen for Eid-ah-Adha, the Islamic "festival of sacrifice," or for Ras as-Sana al-Hijreya, the Islamic New Year. No one will pull a stunt like this for a fabricated (and, unbeknownst to many, anti-Christian) holiday like Kwanzaa. And as this is written, NORAD is not monitoring the skies for Hanukkah Harry. (Sorry, Harry.)
The threat to Christmas has been greatly exaggerated, O ye of little faith!
To be Christian, or more specifically, to be Catholic, is to believe that our Savior, the God-Made-Man, took the form of a slave, triumphed over Death, and sits at the right hand of God the Father. He, and He alone, is King. At the end of the day, at the end of Time itself, every nation shall yield, every knee shall bend, and every tongue shall proclaim, that All the billboards in the world to the contrary, all the bellyaching on cable news channels, all the machinations of public school paper hangers -- none of their futile gestures will change that. Christus vincit! Christus regnat!! Christus imperat!!!
And so, this evening, this writer will venture down the road to southern Maryland, to a little church in the country, to serve as an Acolyte for a Traditional High Mass at the stroke of twelve. “Gaudete! Christus est natus ex Maria Virginae!” “Rejoice! Christ is born of Mary the Virgin.”
Now, quit your damn bellyaching and crack open that eggnog already!
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Once again we feature our tribute to Alphabet Photography of Niagara Falls, Ontario, for thumbing their noses at the Human Rights Commission and orchestrating a "hate crime" disguised as a flash mob ... eh?