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A Christmas Tradition Worth Keeping

A sign of the times. Image from Bob Jones

The Star-Advertiser ran an editorial cartoon recently that I really enjoyed: A man standing amid Christmas sale signs and saying “There’s a war against Christmas but Christmas is winning.”

Good, said I. Merry Christmas. You’ll not hear “happy holidays” escape these non-religious but very traditional lips!

Christmas is a federal holiday by statute, and I don’t think even the group Americans United for Separation of Church and State has seriously objected to that. Polls say 95 percent of Americans like Christmas, want to keep it and are not offended by it.

It’s OK by me if schools put on a Christmas Show instead of a Winter Fest. But then I also didn’t care that Moanalua High School’s orchestra and the New Hope Chapel Singers tried to do a benefit concert at the school this holiday season. We tend to get unnecessarily uptight about very manini connections between religious and secular activities. Keeping proselytizing out of the public realm is important. Keeping a fish symbol off some legislator’s office door is not.

A lot of non-Christians erect Christmas trees in their houses, complete with an angel at the top. Ours has been a black angel for many years. No religious or racial message intended. It is just a gorgeous ornament.

Lawsuits against various city and township displays at Christmas have increased. Supreme Court rulings permit religious themes in government-funded displays if they have a “legitimate secular purpose” – whatever that means. There have been actions against singing Christmas carols in schools, but not one has yet gone to the Supreme Court, so thumbs-up and thumbs-down are all over the map.

There was a big stir five years ago when a public school made children in its choir sing Silver Bells with the word “festive” substituted for “Christmas.” Last year, another school barred a Christmas pageant and replaced it with a craft sale and winter concert … but done in February of this year!

Political correctness truly gone mad was when the Birmingham, England, city council said only the term “Winterval” could be used in describing Christmas events. Councilman Mike Chubb coined the word from winter and festival.

The American group Defend Christmas says on its website that “we believe the media are woefully irresponsible in fanning the flames of this controversy.” Well, maybe they are, but it’s the media’s task to bring our disagreements out in the open for discussion. What’s the worth of only battling them only in the home?

I observe Christmas every year with a fine roast salmon or steelhead trout shared with spouse Denby and a half-dozen friends, and fine wine. No chocolate velvet dessert this year because the maker and my longest, oldest guest, 97-year-old Iris Hallaran of Pat’s At Punaluu fame, has moved to the Mainland.

OK, the name Christmas came from “Christ” and “mass.”

So what? It’s a name. And it was never called Season’s Greetings Day.