Merry Christmas! It's that time of year again. The war on Christmas has begun. Say it loudly and proudly: Merry Christmas! Do not give into that annoying, grinding Happy Holidays sentiment.
Ah! But if you listen to Jesuit priest Fr. Kevin O'Brien at Santa Clara University in California, you will hear that "Jesus doesn't care if you say Merry Christmas." In a manner only a liberal Jesuit — I know, redundant, in liberal California, again, redundant — could the underlying problem of the war on Christmas be so glossed over with such nutty, intellectual-sounding sophistry. By the way, parents who are concerned about your children's souls, don't send your kids to this college where a man like O'Brien is in charge of the School of Theology.
He offers two distortions, reasonable sounding without any deeper thought, as to why Christians should not say Merry Christmas. First, Jesus was not into self-promotion. Two, we live in a pluralistic and diverse society and can never offend. Yes, part of being Christian is always keeping very quiet about Jesus Christ's divinity and stepping aside for other religions or non-religions because we can never offend and must always "respect" man-made religions.
First, Our Blessed Lord, true, was not into "self-promotion" as it is commonly understood. But that isn't what Jesus was doing. The idea that saying Merry Christmas would make Jesus somehow blush and feel awkward because it draws attention to Himself — ludicrous!
"I am the Way, the Truth and the Life."
"Come to Me, all you who are burdened and heavy laden."
"No one comes to the Father except through Me."
"Go out and baptize all nations."
What is the great idiocy that Fr. O'Brien presents as the proper "internal" approach? Well, he sets up a false dichotomy between saying the words "Merry Christmas" and being Christian in our actions, presenting it as though you can't do both. It doesn't matter if we say Merry Christmas. What matters is that we just are quietly Christian in our thoughts and actions.
Well, of course, we have to be Christian in all things but that would include using our mouths, as well and saying Merry Christmas. What an embarrassment the Jesuits have become ever since they were tainted with liberation theology more than 50 years ago. Everything sounds so reasonable, but underlying it all is a great desertion of the Faith, and it's always packaged in such a way that makes it sound OK.
Jesus was humble. He would never have wanted to be the center of attention. Yes, sure enough, Father with all your academic concentration on social justice in the arena of refugees and immigration, perhaps you were sick for class the day you were supposed to study the Scripture passage: "When I am lifted up, I will draw all men to Myself."
Catholics, don't ever draw back from saying Merry Christmas because of fear of offending somehow. As for you specifically, Fr. O'Brien, "Merry Christmas," if that doesn't offend you.