Ichabod's Kin
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                                          [A post-Christmas meditation]

   It’s that time again: the season of Peace as the great gift of God in the person of his Son. And we have the Fox News to thank for breaking this peace annually, with a declaration that a great war is waged against Christmas in the form of the great liberal demon and its legions of independent thinkers.

          I celebrate Christmas with friends and family but largely on its particular day, which happens to be Dec. 25, and beginning with its Eve I indulge in the greeting “Merry Christmas!” I’m the same way about Hanukkah and the specific days of its commemoration, as well as Kwanzaa which begins the 26th and goes to New Year’s Day.

If we are free citizens who like to blow about the Flag and the Statue of Liberty we should honor that upwards of 30 holidays are observed by some seven of the world’s major religions during the period of Nov. 1-Jan. 15. What better way to celebrate freedom for all than to acknowledge that different people, who are part of our great Republic, happen to think and believe differently about religion—and all they ask is room to do so–a thought lost on a significant number in our society and its culture, for reasons unknown, perhaps even to God, who supposedly started us on the road to Peace and Freedom with the Gift intended for Christmas.

          But Fox news seeks instead War, one they say is not declared by them and their minions but by others who have different thoughts. They deem Christians as once again huddling in catacombs for fear of their lives from Roman legions. But there are more churches, huddling sometimes on the selfsame corners of every city and town in America, than there ever were pagan temples in Rome. Given such predominance, one might think the majority faith would have little concern for, let alone fear of, the lowly minority and its celebratory happiness at this season of year.

          I often say that certain people ought to read a damn book once in a while, in this case, the history of Christmas—a practice brought here from Europe and opposed by our Puritan ancestors for what they deemed its Catholic or “papish” tendencies that they had come here to escape, not to mention its pre-Christian pagan sources.

            School and businesses in Massachusetts remained open on that day and when finally beginning to gain acceptance, it was not in Dickensian New England but in Alabama, and not till 1836—or 60 years after 1776. So it was a slow staccato from the little Drummer Boy to being embraced across the nation.    

          This is not to ruin anyone’s party, except those who think the party is all about them, exclusive of the ‘huddled masses yearning to breathe free…’” who are supposed to choke on the words of their own religious preferences.

          Many of the seasonal songs and hymns that go way back had no reference to angels, miracles or other aspects of traditional religion, viz., Longfellow’s “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day,” “Watchman, Tell of the Night,” and others.

           Hanukkah wanders around at this time of year, given that it’s based on a different calendar, and since it spans Dec. 22 to the 30th this time, if we’re as big-hearted as we claim, why not take cognizance of its lesson of struggle and of ultimate survival; Peter Yarrow’s “Light One Candle” could be sung with benefit in any Christian church, or we could be attuned to the strains of “Mi Y’Malel” that remind of “the things that befell” the Jews, not only then but ever since.

          Mine is a plea for Peace, not War, at this time. To speak the truth of anything, however dear, may be uncomfortable for some, but may be faced until it rests easy on the heart and mind, and a new spirit of inclusiveness fill our culture.

          There should be no “War,” but if there is, it too is a gift, and one from Fox. Take it up with them.

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