Quit Celebrating ‘Holiday’

News: Commentary
by David Gordon  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  December 24, 2022   

Celebrate Christmas

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It's late December and, wherever I go, I hear about "Holiday." "Holiday" signs adorn the rafters of nigh every store; an endless loop of TV commercials telling me what to buy "this Holiday" saturates the airwaves; neighbors and workers in the community exhort me to "have a happy 'Holiday'"; radio stations dedicated to "Holiday music" rise like phoenixes from the ashes of failing '80s mix broadcasts. The problem is, since I'm not a pagan, I don't celebrate "Holiday" — I celebrate Christmas. They're two entirely different occasions.

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St. Boniface, inventor of the Christmas tree

For what it's worth, I used to believe that "Holiday" was simply a politically correct euphemism for Christmas; a silly generic appellation devised by the Left so that Jewish people, atheists, and the eight Black people who actually celebrate Kwanzaa could feel at least marginally included in the festivities of the Yule season. This would of course carry the added "benefit" of avoiding "Christocentrism," a perennial obsession of the scheming reprobates at the helm of American culture. But, alas, the rabbit hole goes much deeper than that.

"Holiday" isn't just some Masonic kumbaya synonym for Christmas. It has truly taken on a life of its own; it's become a discrete secular feast day.

I don't celebrate 'Holiday'; I celebrate Christmas.

How do I know that "Holiday" is essentially — not just nominally — distinct from Christmas? Easy. The advocates of "Holiday" say so. The Northeast Times, for instance, tells us that the meaning of "Holiday" is "love and families" and "warm bathrobes, good food, good company — and pleasure." Writing for Yahoo Finance, one author notes that for many, "Holiday" is about "giving," while for others, it's about "spending time with family." A writer for Psychology Today even proposes that "Holiday" doesn't have "its own specific, intrinsic, unalterable meaning," but is rather a means to empower yourself to "feel more alive, enrich your life and support who you are becoming." So while the essence of "Holiday" is admittedly difficult to nail down, I can safely say that it revolves around sensual indulgence, consumerism and nebulous concepts of togetherness and tradition, capped off, of course, with a whisper of self-aggrandizement.

The convoluted, hedonistic character of "Holiday" starkly contrasts with the simple, joyful meaning of Christmas; a meaning that Linus Van Pelt, of Peanuts cohort fame, articulates so memorably in A Charlie Brown Christmas. When pressed by Charlie Brown, "Isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?" Linus, with characteristic sincerity and eloquence, provides the only answer, straight from Holy Writ:

Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about: And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: And they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, "Fear not: For, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord." ... That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.

Linus gets it: Christmas is about the nativity of Christ, and only about the nativity of Christ. Conflating Christmas with "Holiday" not only does violence to its true meaning, it also frustrates the ability of the liturgical calendar to yearly remind mankind of the awesome reality of the Word of God's taking on human visage.


 

Nevertheless, many are subtly and perhaps unwittingly swapping out Christmas for "Holiday," a disquieting trend that is both product and amplifier of increasing secularization. Pew Research reports that while 90% of Americans claim to observe Christmas, only 46% do so for primarily religious reasons. The rest, those who keep the day for motives profane, really commemorate "Holiday," whether they know it or not. Make no mistake, that's a significant number, one roughly on par with the number of Christmas loyalists. So it's now up to loyalists to reclaim "Christ's Mass," to thoroughly distinguish it from the capitalist pagan bacchanalia that has laid claim to its mantle, to reinfuse purpose into the traditions whose meanings have been forgotten by the wayward sons of a materialist age.

It's beyond all doubt that the secular culture — driven in large part by avaricious corporations — has appropriated Christians' Noel patrimony and symbols. Throughout Advent, stores that are decked out in red and green peddle "family trees," "holiday lights," "winter wreaths," "holiday angels," and "seasonal gifts," assiduously scrubbing any mention of "Christmas" from the titles of their wares, despite the elephant in the room that each of these things owes its origin and prevalence to the Christian religion and, ultimately, to Christ Himself. We need to put an end to this.

Pardon the question, but does anyone actually think there's a Hanukkah angel or a Hanukkah star? Obviously not — virtually every person on earth knows the herald angel and star of Bethlehem relate uniquely to the biblical Christmas story. Is there such thing as a Kwanzaa tree or Kwanzaa lights? Nope — St. Boniface introduced the world to the Christmas tree, which he used as a tool to evangelize German pagans in the eighth century, telling them, "It is the sign of an endless life, for its leaves are evergreen. See how it points upward to Heaven. Let this be called the tree of the Christ-child." And the Christmas light, which began as a candle affixed to a Christmas tree, was invented by German Christians in the 17th century. What reason could there possibly be for not firmly affixing the "Christmas" label to these items? Whether motivated by prejudice or profiteering, a decision has been made to keep Christmas out of public life, to replace it with the cheap, depressing pastiche that is "Holiday."

A decision has been made to keep Christmas out of public life.

Where's the outrage? After all, I'm told by low-IQ American liberals that cultural appropriation is a capital sin; that if a White woman wears hoop earrings, she's all but committing a "hate crime." So let's have some consistency: If you're not a practicing Christian, ditch the tree, lights, wreath, and angel. Christmas carols? Those too, of course. And oh yeah, while you're at it, forget Santa Claus and presents. They also belong to the Christian tradition.

Santa, of course, is St. Nicholas of Myra, who's famous for giving away his inheritance to the indigent, and particularly for providing dowries for three poor women, so they could marry and avoid a life of prostitution (this story is the basis for Santa's purported annual slide down the chimney to fill stockings with gifts).

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Linus Van Pelt

Presents themselves are an outgrowth of the original gifts of the Magi to the newborn Christ, and the custom of the faithful exchanging gifts to celebrate Christ's nativity harkens back to some of the earliest centuries of Christianity. Conversely, according to TIME, Jewish gift-giving at Hanukkah was a 20th-century fabrication devised as a response to the Christian tradition. Jewish parents "didn't want their children to feel left out as their peers received presents every December," so they began to mimic the Christian custom. 

So all you "Holiday" devotees, you can enjoy your dark, sterile, somber Decembers, eating comfort food in your bathrobes with your dysfunctional families and "feeling more alive" buying things for yourselves. Me? I'll take Holy Mass, carols, a well-lit and sumptuously decorated tree (complete with a crowning angel), some killer presents, a large Christian family, and, of course, the reason for the season — the hope of life eternal bestowed on us through the greatest Christmas gift of all: the Incarnation of Jesus Christ.

David Gordon holds university degrees in political science, law and theology. He is co-author of Rules for Retrogrades: Forty Tactics to Defeat the Radical Left. Gordon is a writer, book editor and commentary editor at Church Militant.
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